Panthers 3, Predators 2

The Florida Panthers beat the Nashville Predators – instead of
themselves.

Rostislav Olesz and David Booth scored 2:14 apart late in the
third period to give Florida a 3-2 comeback victory over Nashville
on Thursday night, snapping the Predators’ winning streak at six
games.

The Panthers had lost four times in their previous 10 games
after having the lead.

”It’s nice for someone else to blow a lead for a change instead
of us,” Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. ”It was a character win.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a comeback win like that. It’s
nice. I think it builds confidence.”

Olesz, who hadn’t scored in 20 games and had only one point in
seven games since returning from a broken finger, set up Booth’s
winner with 4:12 left.

”It’s good. Tthe guys, they carried me. Now, I help them,
too,” Olesz said. ”It’s a team effort and we won the game.”

Radek Dvorak also scored, and Scott Clemmensen made 27 saves for
Florida, which has won two in a row following a three-game losing
streak.

David Legwand had a goal and an assist for Nashville, and Colin
Wilson also scored. Pekka Rinne, who came into the game second in
the NHL in goals-against average and third in save percentage,
stopped 31 shots for Nashville.

”I think we did it to ourselves,” Rinne said. ”We gave the
game away.

Leading 2-1 and then some not great decisions, that cost
us.”

The Predators had allowed only seven goals during their winning
streak.

Their focus now will be on avoiding their season-long trend of
long streaks.

After opening the season with eight games without a loss in
regulation, Nashville dropped its next five. Before their six-game
winning streak, the Predators had lost five in a row, and that was
preceded by a five-game winning streak.

”When we have a lot of desperation, a lot of detail and a lot
of urgency in our game, we’ll play and win a lot of hockey games,”
Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ”When our urgency level comes
down, our desperation comes down, then we lose hockey games. We
have to learn from the last two long winning streaks when we had
long losing streaks after.”

Booth beat Rinne with 4:12 left in regulation with a wrist shot
low to the glove side after taking a drop pass from Olesz. It was
his third goal in the last four games.

Olesz tied it at 13:34 with his first goal since Oct. 16. Olesz
scored off a rebound with a couple of Nashville defenders
surrounding Rinne in the crease.

”We’re not a team that can make five passes all the way up the
ice and is not going to wow anyone with our skills, so we have to
score those dirty goals and get to the net,” DeBoer said. ”We did
that in the third period. I give Nashville credit, they make you
earn your goals. You’re not going to get anything free against
them.”

Legwand broke a 1-1 tie at 10:02 of the third when he scored for
the third consecutive game. He beat Clemmensen with a wrist shot to
the stick side from the wing.

”It’s a big character win for us, especially after having given
the lead there in the third that we’ve been doing a little bit
lately,” Clemmensen said. ”It was a bad goal on my part, but the
way the guys responded to get the equalizing goal and then go-ahead
goal was great. This is the type of game that hopefully you can
build on.”

Dvorak opened the scoring at 3:22 of the first period off a
2-on-1 break. He one-timed Marty Reasoner’s pass after Cory
Stillman began the play by stealing the puck just outside the
Nashville blue line. It was Dvorak’s first goal in seven games
since coming back after missing nine games because of a shoulder
injury.

Wilson tied it at 10:50 of the first when he one-timed a pass
from behind the net from Legwand. Clemmensen stopped Legwand’s
wrist shot, but couldn’t freeze the puck as it rested near him and
Legwand knocked it loose and carried it behind the net.

”I didn’t think we played particularly well,” Trotz said. ”We
were mismanaging the puck all night and turning it over. It was a
matter of time. Bottom line, we turned the puck over too much and
they had a little more desperation in their game than we did.”

NOTES: Nashville lost in regulation against a Southeast Division
for the first time in seven games (4-1-2). … Nashville D Shea
Weber assisted on Legwand’s goal to extend his career-high points
streak to seven games. … Florida F Chris Higgins missed his third
consecutive game because of a lower-body injury. … This was the
first time in six games the Florida allowed fewer than three
goals.