Juuse Saros made 39 saves, and the Nashville Predators beat the Florida Panthers 4-1 Monday night to hold onto their slim hold on the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. After struggling to score on the power play for most of the year, Nashville’s success rate improved with the development of rookie Eeli Tolvanen. On the season, half of Tolvanen’s 11 goals have come on the power playwith. He missed the first seven of their team’s nine-game stretch without a power-play goal because of a lower-body injury.
Sam Bennett scored for Florida, which had to beat Nashville in almost any fashion to clinch the seventh playoff berth in franchise history. The Panthers trail Carolina by 2 points for the top spot in the Central after being held to just 1 target for for the first time since April 10 — a period of seven games where they moved 5-1-1. Josi’s help tied him with Shea Weber for third on the group’s all-time points record with 443 (115 goals-328 assists). These teams wrap up their season series Tuesday night with Nashville having a opportunity to even the season series.
Florida went up 1-0 when Anthony Duclair’s hot went off Bennett’s left foot on a delayed penalty at 4:49 of their first for his fourth goal in five games. However, Nashville answered quickly when Granlund tipped Roman Josi’s shot and shoved from the rally past Panthers goalie Chris Driedger’s right skate to the power play at 6:30.
The Panthers took the first six shots to open the second. However, the Predators caught a 2-1 lead when Cousins’ snap shot defeat Driedger off a pass from Erik Haula on Nashville’s first shot of the period. CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN Nick Cousins scored the go-ahead target in the next period.
Nashville entered Monday with all the NHL’s 25th best power play, connecting on 17.7 percentage of its chances. He’s got the most wins among NHL goalies since March 18 and aided the Predators remain two points ahead of Dallas by defeating Florida for first time this year in Nashville.