Predators hold off Panthers for 4-3 win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
Barry Trotz hopes his Predators can learn from an ugly win.
''It was a frustrating game,'' Trotz said. ''I would probably say that game we were probably the most sloppy we've been in all the games this year; not real detailed, making poor judgment errors all over the ice, just not real sharp tonight. But we found a way to win and that's part of learning to win.''
With the game tied 2-2 after two periods, Smith and Hornqvist scored early in the third period for the Predators.
Florida goaltender Jacob Markstrom stopped a shot by Gabriel Bourque, but Smith went to the net and was able to fight through traffic and poke the rebound in for his first goal of the season at 1:22.
''I just crashed the net,'' Smith said. ''I just went to the net. We've been harping all camp and through the beginning of the season here, going to the net hard. I did that and I was rewarded.''
Less than four minutes later, Hornqvist struck on the power play with a nice individual move from the right side.
''That's the difference in a hockey game,'' Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. ''It is something that we're trying to take out, those mistakes, and we had a tough backcheck and a goal that shouldn't get scored. I don't fault the compete effort; I think that's something that we've talked too much about, but that certainly is part of our game and has to be part of our identity every night to give ourselves a chance.''
Weber scored the game's first goal at 9:23 of the opening period.
Fisher had the puck on the right side and slid a pass to Weber at the center of the blue line. The Nashville captain one-timed the puck by Markstrom for his first goal of the season.
''We made it hard on ourselves tonight,'' Weber said. ''We didn't play very well, we just found a way to win though. That's what you need to do sometimes.''
Florida tied the game at 1 early in the second period when Huberdeau stickhandled through the Nashville defense before beating Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot.
The 2013 Calder Trophy winner has three goals in his last four games.
Fisher gave Nashville the lead again at 12:48 of the second, but former Predator Marcel Goc tied it less than a minute later, beating Rinne from the right side in close.
''It wasn't the start to the third that we wanted to have; they scored two in the first five minutes,'' Goc said. ''Overall, I think it was a tight game; it was pretty even.''
Fisher and Hornqvist are the only Predators with more than one goal on the season.
Gilroy drew the Panthers within one at 11:37 of the third, but they could not forge their third tie of the game.
NOTES: After allowing the first goal in their first four games, Nashville has scored first in consecutive games. ... Nashville C David Legwand played his 900th career NHL game, all with the Predators. ... Florida C Nick Bjugstad appeared in his first game of the season since sustaining a concussion in early September. ... Goc played 124 games for Nashville in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.