In an ultimate game of tug-of-war with Filip Forsberg and Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau both in rare form, the Predators won a comeback thriller in overtime against the Panthers last night, 6-5.
Forsberg and Huberdeau recorded five points each last night, becoming just the third pair of players to have dueling five-point games in the regular season over the past 30 years. Huberdeau's hat trick/two-assist performance is arguably the biggest story of the game, but Forsberg capped off his two-goal/three-assist night with the game winning goal, taking eight shots along the way.
The back-and-forth nature of last night's game was mostly just infuriating for Preds fans. Within two minutes of Forsberg's and Matt Duchene's first goals, the Panthers struck back, retaking the lead both times. The Preds haven't maintained the lead in a game since Jan. 27 against Chicago, holding onto the it for only four minutes before surrendering the tying goal. Nashville has recorded the least time with the game lead (37 minutes) of any other team in the league so far this year; the team with the next least lead-time is Pittsburgh, and they have enjoyed almost double the amount of time as the Preds, at 72 game-leading minutes.
Outside of the Battle of the Wingers, Duchene recorded both his first and second goals of the year last night, including the game-tying power play goal in the final minute of regulation. He'd accrued just three assists and a -3 on-ice rating since the start of the season.
Calle Jarnkrok returned to the ice after a seven-game absence and became the beneficiary of a Forsberg assist, scoring on his first shot of the game.
Juuse Saros was pulled in favor of Pekka Rinne at the start of the third period after allowing five goals on 24 shots in the first two periods. Rinne saved all 12 Florida shots he faced in the third period and overtime.
Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm shouldered nearly 40 percent of the Preds' total shots, taking eight apiece amidst the team's 41-shot campaign. Nashville and Florida both went 2 for 4 on the power play.
The Preds play the Panthers again this evening, this time with Rinne and Chris Dreidger starting between the pipes. If you recall, Driedger collected his first win in goal since 2016-17 against the Preds on Nov. 20, 2019, posting a 27-save shutout.