Panthers Over Predators – Ekblad & Trocheck With 2 Points

NASHVILLE — Aaron Ekblad and Vincent Trocheck each had a goal and an assist to lead the Florida Panthers to a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

Jared McCann and Frank Vatrano had the other goals for Florida. After snapping a seven-game losing streak with a home victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night, the Panthers have won consecutive games.

Nick Bonino and Austin Watson each scored and had an assist, and Juuse Saros made 26 saves for Nashville, which has lost four of its last five.

Ekblad scored the game’s first goal at 4:05 of the opening period. With Florida on a power play, Trocheck sent a spinning backhand pass from above the right circle to Ekblad in the middle of the blue line, where he fired a one-timer high over the glove of Saros.

Florida Panthers Aaron Ekblad
Florida Panthers Aaron Ekblad (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Ekblad’s goal was the 62nd of his career, moving him into first place in Florida franchise history for goals by a defenceman.

Before the goal, the Panthers’ James Reimer stopped two short-handed attempts by the Predators — first Viktor Arvidsson on a breakaway at 2:53 and then captain Roman Josi at 3:11. Reimer finished with 37 saves

Vatrano made it 2-0 at 13:16 of the first. On the right side, Ekblad found Vatrano, whose wrist shot tipped off of Arvidsson’s stick and over Saros’ glove.

On a breakaway, Trocheck slipped a backhander between Saros’ pads at 2:59 of the second to give Florida a 3-0 lead. After missing 27 games with a broken ankle, Trocheck has three points in the two games he has played since returning to the lineup.

Bonino got the Predators on the scoreboard at 2:45 of the third, tucking the puck just inside the right post after freezing Reimer with a move in the slot.

Watson drew Nashville to within a goal 38 seconds later with a nifty deflection of a shot by Bonino in the low slot, but Florida regained a two-goal lead at 11:38 off of a nice backdoor pass from Colton Sceviour.

NOTES: Nashville played without C Ryan Johansen, who served the first of his two-game suspension as a result of high-sticking Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele on Thursday night. … Nashville C Colin Blackwell played his first career NHL game. … Florida had scored just one power-play goal in its last seven games. … The Panthers are 12-2-3 when leading after two periods. … Sceviour had a pair of assists.


Panthers: host San Jose on Monday.

Predators: visit Colorado on Monday.


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Jim Diamond, The Associated Press