By: Brittney Foley, University of Miami
The Florida Panthers opened up Game Two of The 2013 Florida Panthers Prospects Tournament with an exciting meeting against the Nashville Predators. Holding a 3-2 lead after two periods, Nashville struck for six goals in the third on their way to an 8-4 victory at the Saveology.com Iceplex.
The Predators were the first to score with an unassisted goal by Miikka Salomaki but that lead was short-lived as Panthers’ right winger Logan Shaw got on the board less than five minutes later off a low point from the slot, followed by a deflected shot goal from John McFarland 1:19 later, giving the hometown team a 2-1 lead to end the first period. The second period saw the teams’ defenses keep the offenses to one goal each with Josh Shalla scoring 2:01 into the period and the Cat’s Josh McFadden following up on his own shot with 30 seconds remaining for a 3-2 lead, heading into the final period of play. In the third, Nashville’s offense came out strong, scoring 59 seconds in off a goal from Filip Forsberg. After Chris Clapperton tied the game at four on a rebound from Corey Trivino 6:35 in, Nashville struck four times in a seven minute span, including twice just 32 seconds apart.
“I thought we started off good,” said Panthers forward Quinton Howden. “I thought we had some good energy and we were playing hard, and then the turnovers cost us.
“It’s kind of hard to come back when you are kind of put down. I thought we played up until the end and it is a good learning experience for us.”
On the flip side, No. 4 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft back in June, Seth Jones saw his first action in a Predators uniform.
“It felt pretty good. Obviously everyone was trying to get their feet back under them this summer,” said Jones. “I think after the first period everyone realized, you know, the season is starting back up again. It was really good to get out there and get a feel for things.”
Following regulation, the teams took part in a five-round shootout. Shooting for Florida were Francis Beauvillier, Vincent Trocheck, Nick Bjugstad, Jared Gomes and Alexander Delnov. Trocheck scored on a pretty deke while Delnov scored on a wrist shot on the last shot of the night to earn the 2-1 shootout victory for the Cats. Shooting for Nashville were Austin Watson, Brendan Leipsic, Forsberg, Shalla and Vinny Saponari with Forsberg making good on his shot.
George Hughes, Jonathan Racine, Bjugstad, Gomes, Trivino and Alexander Petrovic all had assists in the loss while Rob Madore stopped 10 of the 12 shots he saw in the first half of the game and Mack Shields turning aside eight of 14 shots.
Scoring for Nashville were Miikka Salomaki, Shalla, Forsberg, Michael Moffat, Cehlin, Saponari, Tommy Veilleux and Zach Budish. Salomaki led the team with two assists and Budish had one assist in addition to his goal. Magnus Hellberg stopped nine of the 11 shots he saw in the start and Marek Mazanec allowed just two goals on 15 shots in the second half of the game.
Florida’s John McFarland
Q: This camp and this tournament, how important is it for you to get off your season to a good start?
A. It's huge. Everyone comes here to be a Florida Panther. It doesn't always work out that way but that's your goal and that's the mindset you come in with. You want to give yourself the best opportunity possible.
Nashville’s Seth Jones
Q: Are the coaches going to give you the latitude to rush as much as you’d like to rush?
A: I think you obviously have to be a little bit more smart about it…I think that’s one of the major, major things about jumping from juniors right to the NHL. Everyone’s so much better. Everyone’s so much faster, so you can’t make the plays in juniors, you know, in the end, that you can…You can’t make them in the NHL. It just doesn’t work out that way. Everyone is too good…You definitely have to adjust to your surroundings, but, I mean, if I see an opening, I will take it.
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