The Nashville Predators saw a pair of lengthy winning streaks snapped in their last contest, but they’d like to keep another one going Saturday night.
The Predators host the Florida Panthers, who have won four straight road games overall but haven’t earned a victory at Nashville in nearly a decade.
Nashville (14-9-1) had won seven in a row both overall and at home, but both streaks ended Friday night in a 3-1 loss to St. Louis. The Predators put 38 shots on net, but only one by Dave Scatchard(notes) in the third period got past Blues goalie - and former Predator - Chris Mason(notes).
Nashville failed to score on five power-play opportunities after going 9 for 21 with the man advantage in its previous five games.
“Now we are on a one-game losing streak,” coach Barry Trotz said. “The most important game of the season is Saturday night, plain and simple.
“We’ve got to start another winning streak. You don’t want to go backwards at all. We will show our maturity in the way we respond these next couple of nights.”
The Predators will now try to bounce back from Friday’s defeat and continue their long-standing home dominance of the Panthers (10-10-4). Nashville has three wins and two ties in five home games against Florida since the last time the Panthers won at the Sommet Center, a 4-2 victory Dec. 11, 1999.
Despite that futility, the Panthers may be glad to be leaving home for two games including a visit to Atlanta on Monday. They’re 7-4-1 on the road but 3-6-3 in Sunrise, Fla., after dropping all three games on their just-completed homestand.
Florida had earned at least a point in eight consecutive games (5-0-3), but saw that run come to an end Friday with a 6-4 loss to Toronto. Dmitry Kulikov(notes) scored twice and Radek Dvorak(notes) and Michael Frolik(notes) tallied the first two goals of the game, but the early lead didn’t stand up as Tomas Vokoun(notes) - another former Nashville goalie - stopped only 27 of 32 shots.
“For us, four goals has to be enough to win,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “We didn’t do enough (Friday), keeping the puck out of our own end, as a group, to deserve a win.”
Vokoun, an original Predator and the franchise leader with 161 wins, is 1-1-0 in two starts against his former club since being dealt to Florida for draft picks prior to the 2007-08 season, including a 3-0 home win last Dec. 23 in which he stopped 27 shots. He was also in net for the entirety of the Panthers’ winless homestand. If DeBoer opts to rest Vokoun on Saturday, backup Scott Clemmensen(notes) is 1-0-1 with a 1.93 GAA in two starts against Nashville.
Florida has outscored the opposition 12-5 during its four-game road winning streak. The Panthers won five in a row away from home Nov. 30-Dec. 12 last season.