Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Panthers welcome back Jovanovski with 5-4 shootout win

The SportsXchange

SUNRISE, Fla. - Florida Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who has played more than 1,000 NHL games, admitted he was nervous Saturday night.

After all, it was his first game in more than nine months and his first since hip-resurfacing surgery.

Even better for Jovanovski, it was a victory for his Panthers, who blew a two-goal third-period lead and then beat the Nashville Predators 5-4 in a shootout at the BB&T Center.

"A nice win makes the body feel much better," said Jovanovski, who was a plus-three in 15:54 of ice time, seeing action on the power-play and penalty-kill units. "In the warm-ups, I was kind of antsy, jumping around. It was nice to get that first shift out of the way."

Right winger Tomas Kopecky scored the decisive goal in the shootout as the Panthers won, 2-1.

Panthers goalie Tim Thomas, who had his streak of four straight games allowing two goals or less snapped, came up big in the shootout, stopping five of six Predators shots.

At least two of those shots hit the post, however.

"We had Timmy Thomas beat a couple times," Predators Coach Barry Trotz said. "Smitty (center Craig Smith) off the post right off the bat. (Center Matt Hendricks) had him on the outside of the post. (Left wing Gabriel Bourque) had him, and it flipped on him. We had chances to win that game, but we didn't get it."

Nashville started its rally when rookie defenseman Seth Jones scored his fourth goal of the season with 5:08 left in the third period to make it 4-3.

Then with 4:01 remaining in regulation and the Panthers clinging to that precarious lead, Florida killed off a two-minute penalty to left winger Tomas Fleischmann. But after the kill, the Predators pulled their goaltender and got a tying score from center Paul Gaustad with just 48 seconds left.

In the shootout, Thomas effectively cut off the angles on the Predators' shooters, getting beat only by center Dave Legwand on the second shot.

"There was some room there, but I was trying to stop them anyway I could and force them - if they started to beat me - to get it off quicker," Thomas said.

Jovanovski, 37, who had missed 83 of Florida's past 89 games, is believed to be the first player of the four major U.S. pro sports leagues to come back from hip-resurfacing surgery.

Thomas, a contemporary of Jovanovski at age 39, said it was great to see his teammate back on the ice.

"He has had such a great career," said Thomas, who made 28 saves Saturday. "To never know if he was going to be able to play again, it was special to him. When I won the shootout, the first thing I said was congratulations to him. He's a great defenseman. He reads the game the way few people do."

Thomas and the Panthers were able to beat Predators rookie goalie Marek Mazanec, who was playing in place of two-time Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne (hip injury). Mazanec, one of four goalies used by the Predators this season, made 25 saves and fell to 7-9-2.

The Predators opened the scoring on a first-period goal by Smith. But the Panthers rallied to take a 2-1 lead, getting first-period goals by right wingers Brad Boyes and Kopecky.

On the latter goal, the Predators mishandled a rebound off of a shot by center Marcel Goc. The puck found its way right in front of the goal, where Kopecky did not miss.

The Predators tied the score with 3:28 left in the second period as red-hot forward Mike Fisher scored for his ninth point in his past four games.

Florida took a 3-2 lead with just 2:31 left in the second period when left winger Sean Bergenheim followed his own shot and got his ninth goal of the season.

The Panthers capitalized on another Nashville mistake with just 1:34 elapsed in the third period. After a Predators turnover behind their net, center Jonathan Huberdeau pounced on it and fed the puck to Goc, who scored from point-blank range for his eighth goal of the season.

"I didn't like the goals we gave up," Trotz said. "It showed some inexperience on the back end. The goals were way too easy. But it was a character way to come back. We got it tied up late, which is tough to do in the NHL."

NOTES: Panthers RW Scottie Upshall returned after missing time due to an upper-body injury. ... The Panthers placed D Dylan Olsen (lower-body injury) on injured reserve. ... Panthers C Jesse Winchester (hand) and D Erik Gudbranson (eye) are also out. ... Panthers coach Peter Horachek was a longtime Nashville assistant coach. He worked with current Nashville coach Barry Trotz from 2003 until Horachek was fired in May 2013. The two men made it to seven playoffs together and still talk once a week. ... It will take a while to determine whether the Panthers made the right move in the 2013 draft when they took C Aleksander Barkov instead of D Seth Jones, who went fourth to Nashville. So far, both have played well. Barkov has seven goals and 14 assists. Jones has four goals and 10 assists. ... Up next, the Predators end their three-game road trip Sunday in Carolina. ... The Panthers start a three-game road trip Monday in Montreal.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (0)

Recommended for You

  • Mayweather vs Maidana 2: Marcos Maidana's rematch game plan

    Marcos Maidana had some success with Floyd Mayweather in May, but will need to go to another level to beat him on September 13.

    SB Nation
  • Ray McDonald comments on arrest as he leaves jail

    Ray McDonald was arrested early Sunday morning for suspicion of felony domestic violence, and as he departed Santa Clara County Jail, he had some comments. The reporter and cameraman followed Ray McDonald as he left the jail, and eventually got some basic comments on the situation, starting around…

    SB Nation
  • Gay NFL player overlooked by teams: report

    Michael Sam, who is seeking to become the NFL's first openly gay player, was passed over by 31 teams Sunday just one day after being cut by St. Louis, USA Today reported. Sam was cut by St. Louis on Saturday as the Rams tried to get their roster down to 53 players for the first game of the season.…

  • Play

    Fisherman tangles with gator at Falls Lake

    A local man has quite the fish tale to tell after an alligator goes after his fishing lure

    WTVD – Raleigh/Durham
  • Rumor Roundup (Sept. 1, 2014): Batista WWE return, Zeb Colter, Rob Van Dam, more!

    Speculating on the rumors surrounding pro wrestling is a favored pastime of many fans, perhaps second only to actually watching the matches. In this daily column, we take a look at the latest rumors being churned out by the pro wrestling rumor mill. Important reminder: Rumors are just that -- rumors.

    SB Nation
  • Fernando Torres 'set records' in AC Milan medical

    I promise that we won't be paying that much attention to Chelsea loanee Fernando Torres -- at this point I think everyone can agree the poor bloke could do with a rest from pretty much everyone even remotely associated with the club. But there are some things that simply cannot avoid comment, and…

    SB Nation
  • Neither rain, nor lightning, nor empty stands, nor Marcel Granollers could stop Roger Federer Sunday at the U.S. Open

    There was a lot going on at the USTA National Tennis Center during the late afternoon Sunday. But after a slow start, Roger Federer is into the U.S. Open fourth round.

    Busted Racquet
  • Rajon Rondo wants to be traded, but not to the Kings

    Rondo wants to be traded, but has made it known he will not re-sign with the Kings if traded to Sacramento. While this initially seems like good news for the Kings, who have been reportedly interested in the Celtics point guard, Rondo also indicated he would not re-sign with Sacramento if traded…

    SB Nation
  • Glenn Winston among 3 49ers cuts claimed by other teams Sunday

    Glenn Winston is the future ... of the Cleveland Browns. The waiver claim period for the hundreds of eligible players that were released on Saturday has expired, and teams have already started signing players to their practice squads. The San Francisco 49ers have just about filled up their squad,…

    SB Nation
  • UFC Fight Night 50 preview: Will the real Alistair Overeem please stand up?

    When Alistair Overeem crumpled Brock Lesnar with a thunderous liver kick in the main event of UFC 141, which sent the pasty-faced brute back to the land of make believe, one of my fellow mixed martial arts (MMA) writers sent me a text message that read, "This division is in trouble." After all,…

    SB Nation
  • Tony Stewart's return to race track ends early

    Tony Stewart climbed from his battered car, took a big gulp of water, and surveyed the damage. In his first event since his sprint car struck and killed a fellow driver, Stewart slammed the wall twice and settled for a dismal 41st-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, leaving him in a…

    The Associated Press
  • Dana White open to Ben Askren in UFC, Askren responds

    Despite the bad blood between former Bellator and current ONE FC welterweight champion and the UFC, Dana White seems happy to let bygones be bygones. Askren though, predictably, seems willing to carry on with firing shots on social media. Despite passing up the opportunity to sign Ben Askren when…

    SB Nation
  • Play

    Kyle Busch and Truex Jr. tangle

    Contact between Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. brings out a late race caution in Atlanta setting up a shootout for the win. They would have words in the garage after the race.
  • Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Korey Toomer, Cut By Seattle Seahawks On Saturday

    The Cowboys get a promising prospect for the linebacking unit, but Korey Toomer hasn't played football in a while. Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News has the latest roster update for the Dallas Cowboys: Dallas Cowboys have signed LB Korey Toomer to their 53-man roster after he cleared…

    SB Nation
  • UFC 177 results: Ronda Rousey demands Bethe Correia title fight, but Dana White tells her to 'calm down'

    Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey wants revenge for her fallen "Horsewomen," now that undefeated division contender Bethe Correia knocked off Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler, the latter of which occurred at UFC 177 last Saturday night (Aug. 30, 2014)…

    SB Nation
  • Houston Texans Roster Cuts 2014: Texans Waive Case Keenum

    In a move that was destined once the Houston Texans traded for Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum has been released. This is sure to inspire a passionate reaction, from both ends of the spectrum, from the Houston fan base. As expected, Ryan Mallett's arrival necessarily foretold Case Keenum's departure.

    SB Nation
  • With heavy heart, Kuchar hovers around the lead

    NORTON, Mass. (AP) — With an orange ribbon on his hat and nine birdies on his card, Matt Kuchar pulled within a shot of the lead Saturday in the Deutsche Bank Championship. Not that he needed a reminder, but a message posted on the scoring table spoke to the emotions involved in this tournament.

    Associated Press