The Nashville Predators came from behind to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 in overtime at the Bank Atlantic Center on Monday night. It was only the Pred's second win at the BAC, with the other coming in December 2002.
Francis Bouillon "Cube" scored a goal exactly one minute into overtime to win the game for the Predators. Bouillon had never scored a game winner in overtime and more than made up for his inability to tie last Saturday's game in the eleventh round of the shoot out against Detroit.
The Predators went ahead at 2:41 in the second period on a goal by David Legwand that broke his scoreless drought that dates back to January 2, when he scored against the Ducks.
The 1-0 Predator lead held until early in the third period when Florida came back with goals by Keith Ballard and Stephen Weiss 2:41 apart to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
The Panthers seemed to have the upper hand until Patric Hornqvist scored with 3:12 seconds left to send the game into overtime tied 2-2.
With the goal, Hornquist became the fourth Predator to score 30 goals in a season, joining Steve Sullivan, Paul Kariya and Steve Sullivan. He is now three away from the Pred's single season record of 33 that was set by Jason Arnott last season.
Dan Ellis, playing what may be his final game as a Predator, stopped 27 of 29 Panther shots for his 15th win of the season. Scott Clemmensen took the loss as he allowed three goals on 25 Predator shots.
Storylines From The Game
Extra Time Required Once Again...
For the third game in a row and for the fifth time in the last eight games, the Predators could not settle the matter in sixty minutes of regulation play.
After Saturday's game, Pekka Rinne said the team has come to expect extra play. "I expect that usually when this team wins games it's by one goal, so you expect some games going to overtime or shootout. It's no big deal. I'm still confident we can win if it's overtime or shoot out."
It is that kind of confidence in close, pressure-filled games, that will make this team different than prior Preds playoff teams once the post-season begins.
Without Key Players, Others Step Up...
In Barry Trotz's true "Band of Brothers" fashion, others stepped up when the Preds were without Captain Jason Arnott, Marty Erat, Joel Ward and Denis Grebeshkov.
David Legwand scored his first goal in almost three months and Farancis Bouillon scored only his third goal of the year. Others have moved into new line combinations and played rolls different than they are used to, playing more minutes that they have in the past.
Wade Belak even dressed for the first time in six weeks and managed to scrap with Steve MacIntyre.
When you can win with a mix and match line up on the road in a come from behind game, it gives you things to build on as the playoffs loom near.
Tribute to Dan Ellis...
Pekka Rinne had played nine straight games going into the game with Florida and, barring injury, appears will play the remaining games on the Predators schedule as they have no back to backs and position in the standings will be on the line through the final game.
That being said, Monday's game may have been Dan Ellis' swan song with the Preds, and if it is, it's great to see him going out with a big win in a meaningful game. He has given 110% every time he has taken the ice and has no complained regardless of the role he has been given.
Ellis has been a true Nashville Predator in his 111 games with the team. His 50-42-8 record with 10 shut outs ranks him as one of the all-time best in goal for the Preds. His .924 save percentage led the league in his first season with the Preds in 2007-08.
It is a shame that economics dictate that he will move on to another team this Summer. Pred fans will always have fond memories of Dan and wish him the best wherever he lands.
The Predators return home on Tuesday night for an important match with the L. A. Kings who are four points behind the Preds. The game could provide a four point swing and is critical as the Preds try to maintain their fifth place slot in the Western Conference and shoot of a 100 point season.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass