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.