SUNRISE, Fla. – Francis Bouillon and the Nashville Predators showed why they are in the playoff race on Monday night.
Bouillon scored a minute into overtime to lift the Predators to a 3-2 win over the Panthers. David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist also scored for Nashville. Keith Ballard and Stephen Weiss had third-period goals for Florida, which lost its third straight game.
“We didn’t play a great game, that’s for sure,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “We didn’t have a lot of energy and a lot of juice. We had to get that out. The positive thing is, when we didn’t have much going on today, we found a way to get it tied up and we found a way to win it.”
Scott Clemmensen stopped 22 shots for the Panthers and Dan Ellis made 27 saves for the Predators.
Clemmensen got the start in favour of Tomas Vokoun, Nashville’s former goalie, who has won just one of his past seven games. Both Ellis and Clemmensen appeared in the only other meeting between the Panthers and Predators this season, a 4-1 Nashville win on Nov. 28, 2009.
Bouillon scored on a shot from the right circle a minute into overtime to give Nashville the win.
Nashville, which was coming off Saturday’s 1-0 shootout loss to Detroit, is in fifth place in the Western Conference with 94 points.
“A game like this, when you’re playing a team you don’t see often, you don’t have any matchup against, it’s just a random game, you have tendency to just mosey on in and tonight we did that a little bit, but we dig deep toward the end when it really counted and got the points,” Ellis said.
The Predators tied the game at 2-2 on Hornqvist’s goal with 3:07 left in regulation. Hornqvist scored with a wrist shot that went through Clemmensen’s legs.
The Panthers tied the game at 1-1 on Ballard’s goal at 3:12 of the third. Weiss and Michael Frolik had the assists on the goal, Ballard’s sixth of the season. Weiss then put Florida up 2-1 at 5:53 of the third, when he tipped in Jason Garrison’s shot from the blue-line. Frolik also assisted on Weiss’ goal.
“We had two or three chances, I thought, to make it 3-1 and really put the game out of reach and either their guy made a save or we just missed and they hung around and found a way to get one,” Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said.
Legwand opened the scoring at 2:41 of the second period with his 11th goal of the season. He took a pass from Colin Wilson and scored on a wrist shot from the top of the right circle.
“We gave up two goals there. They were all over us a little bit. But we squeaked one out,” Legwand said. “Hornqvist got a big goal and the overtime we knew we could go for it a little bit against an Eastern Conference team. We needed two points and we got it.”
NOTES: The Panthers recalled RW Victor Oreskovich from Rochester (AHL). Oreskovich replaced RW Byron Bitz in Florida’s lineup. Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said Bitz was out with an elbow injury, which occurred Saturday in Ottawa. … The Predators managed just four shots on goal in the scoreless first period. The Panthers had only six.