|Motivated Panthers face tough test in Rinne, Predators|
The Florida Panthers, who have earned at least one point in four consecutive games, will visit the Nashville Predators on short rest Saturday night.
Florida lost 5-4 in overtime at home Friday night against the high-flying Colorado Avalanche.
Nashville returns home after finishing a three-game road trip with a 5-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.
Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky wasn't pleased with what happened on Friday -- blowing a 3-1 second-period lead against Colorado.
"We have to find a way to get two points in that type of game," Bobrovsky said.
There's a chance the Panthers will give Saturday's goalie start to rookie backup Sam Montembeault, who is 0-0-1 this season with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage.
Nashville is expected to turn to its starting goalie, Pekka Rinne, which is bad news for the Panthers. So far this season, Predators backup goalie Juuse Saros -- who lost to the Coyotes on Thursday -- is 0-3-0 with a 4.74 GAA and an .853 save percentage.
Rinne, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2018 and has been a finalist four times, is 4-0-0 with a 2.76 GAA and a .908 save percentage.
"He's been terrific," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "He works and battles and fights, keeps us in games."
The Predators on Saturday will face Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, who scored twice against Colorado and tied his career high with eight shots on goal.
"I think it's going to be a hard game, going into their building," Huberdeau said when asked about the Predators. "It's a huge game for us.
"I don't know what's going on right now. We get the lead, and we lose it every time in the second period. We have to tighten up some things defensively, especially my line. We allowed two goals. That can't happen."
The Predators are led by 28-year-old center Matt Duchene, who has two goals and seven assists, with his nine points tied for the team high with defenseman Ryan Ellis.
This is Duchene's fourth NHL team, but he figures to stick around awhile in Nashville after signing a seven-year, $56-million contract on July 1. Nashville traded away star defenseman P.K. Subban in order to clear salary-cap space for Duchene.
Nashville's offense had scored at least three goals in each of the first six games before getting stopped for just two by Arizona on Thursday.
This is Laviolette's sixth season coaching Nashville. His counterpart in Florida, Joel Quenneville, is in his first with the Panthers after winning three Stanley Cup titles for the Chicago Blackhawks.
So far, Quenneville has struggled to put his defensive-minded stamp on the Panthers, who signed Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million contract in July but have yet to see much in the way of dividends.
Turnovers have been a consistent issue, and a good example was one by Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle on Friday. Yandle coughed up the puck, and it led to a Colorado goal.
On offense, Mike Hoffman leads the Panthers with five goals. Hoffman has eight points, tied for the team lead with Huberdeau.
But Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov has yet to score a goal this season, although he does have six assists.
--Field Level Media