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MUSIC CITY BUMMER: Panthers Battle, Come Up Short in 4-3 Loss to Predators

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NASHVILLE -- It's probably a good thing the Panthers never moved to Nashville as was threatened back in the mid-90s while they were wheeling and dealing to get their arena built in Sunrise.

They don't play very well here anyway.

Florida's Music City losing streak continued Tuesday as the host Predators scored twice in the third to break a tie game before winning 4-3 at Bridgestone Arena.

The Panthers haven't won in Nashville since taking the first two meetings against the expansion Preds in 1998 and '99. Florida, the first-ever opponent for the Preds in Nashville, has now lost five straight here.

"We had some chances at 4-3,'' said Jonathan Huberdeau, who started Florida's scoring. "We missed some chances at the end. [Jacob] Markstrom kept us in it. You have to take the positives from this game. We had a good effort. .-.-. We had some lines clicking. We just have to be better defensively to help Markstrom.''

The Panthers, who have lost two straight and five of their first seven this season, played well for much of the night. Nashville, however, turned the momentum in its favor 1:22 into the third when Craig Smith cleaned up a loose puck in front of Markstrom.

Nashville added a power play goal from Patric Hornqvist as he threw a puck at Markstrom's skates and watched it trickle in a few minutes later.

Florida was unable to bounce back from the two-goal deficit as Hornqvist's goal served as the winner.

The Panthers did come close, however, getting a goal credited to Matt Gilroy that went off the stick of Nashville's David Legwand with 8:23 left.

"We're trying to take out the small mistakes,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. "I don't fault the compete level, we've talked about that too much. We had numerous chances with the empty net and their goalie made some big saves.

"We got a 60 minute game. We gave up a bad power play goal that was a savable goal. We need to start winning these games. We need to win.''

Florida trailed or was tied with the Preds throughout the game as Nashville scored the initial goal Tuesday and also led 2-1 before the Panthers came back.

Jonathan Huberdeau got his third goal in four games to lead things off as he charged in on Pekka Rinne and drilled the puck through early in the second.

Mike Fisher scored with 7:12 left in the second to make it 2-1, but Goc answered by chopping at a loose puck in front of the net off a Jesse Winchester offering less than a minute later.

"That wasn't the start to the third we wanted but overall it was a tight game,'' said Goc, who played in Nashville before coming to Florida. "Neither team gave up much. We just couldn't keep the puck in the zone in long enough when we had the advantage. We kept pushing and pushing. We just couldn't crack them.''

 

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