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Panthers hope to avoid third straight loss vs. Predators

Florida (4-5-0) at Nashville (5-4-1) 8:00 pm. EDT

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- The Florida Panthers aim to

avoid a third straight loss on Saturday, when they visit the

defensively challenged Nashville Predators.

Defenseman Keith Ballard scored and Tomas Vokoun stopped 29

shots, but the Panthers dropped a 2-1 decision to the Ottawa

Senators on Thursday.

"You have to find a way to complete the effort, and we didn't do

that tonight," Vokoun said. "A disappointing loss, for sure."

It was the first time Florida has dropped consecutive games this

season. The Panthers were shut out, 4-0, by the St. Louis Blues

on Wednesday.

Florida will need some better results from its power-play unit

if it is going to get back on track. The Panthers went 1-for-3

with the man advantage on Thursday but are just 1-for-17 over

their last five games.

The good news is that Nashville has been struggling defensively,

allowing 3.71 goals per game - second to last in the league.

The Predators put forth a good effort on Thursday, as defenseman

Shea Weber had a goal and an assist and Pekka Rinne stopped 27

shots in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Rinne started in place of Dan Ellis, who injured his back at

Washington on Tuesday but was able to dress as the backup

against Edmonton. Ellis, who has a 3.28 goals-against average,

made 24 saves in a 4-3 win in his only career start against

Florida on October 27, 2007.



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