Florida- one of the Predators' notorious "kryptonite teams" (Arizona is another one)- struck again tonight in a 3-2 shootout victory over Nashville.
The loss comes at the heels of a disappointing road loss in Arizona on Thursday. Both of the last two games have followed Tuesday's Vegas game, which was arguably the Preds' best game of the season so far. I will give them credit- it is very on-brand for the Predators to follow a decisive victory over a playoff team with two very forgettable losses to fringe teams. The absence of Filip Forsberg, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, was no doubt felt on the Preds' attack.
The first period yielded no goals for either team. There were only 14 shots on goal between both the Panthers and the Preds.
The second period was controlled by the Panthers. Denis Malgin got things going for Florida on a power play with Kyle Turris in the box, snapping a quick wrist shot from the left circle past Pekka Rinne. Near the end of the second, Brett Connolly made it 2-0 Panthers with a traffic-clearing shot from the blue line. The Panthers outshot the Preds 17-7 in the second period.
The Preds rallied in the third period. Roman Josi blasted a one-timer on a pass from Ryan Ellis past Florida goalie Sam Montembeault to make it 2-1 about halfway through the period. Ellis and Matt Duchene were credited with the assists. A couple minutes later, on a power play with Jonathan Huberdeau in the box for the Panthers, Turris scored a gritty goal past a diving Aaron Ekblad that alley-ooped around the back of Montembeault to tie the game at 2. Ellis tacked on his second assist of the night and, believe it or not, Pekka Rinne got the secondary assist, bringing his point total to a whopping 1.
Going into overtime still tied, the Preds outshot Florida 4-0, but were still unable to put the nail in the coffin. Vincent Trocheck won it for the Panthers in the shootout, with Nashville unable to respond with a goal of their own.
The Preds cannot keep getting beat by teams who are objectively weaker than them. They need to be dominating possessions and sending pucks to the net far more than they did tonight. They will play the 6-2-0 Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.