Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 1)

Series starts 12/13

Game 1: Saturday, December 13th
Panthers2Final
OT
Predators2

Panthers 2

(10-14-1, 27 pts)

Predators 2

(14-12-0, 30 pts)

8:00 PM ET, December 13, 2003

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 OT T
FLA 0 2 0 02
NSH 1 1 0 02

G. Johnson (Predators - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

T. Vokoun (Predators - G): Saves: 26, Save Pct.: .929

R. Luongo (Panthers - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: .944

Replay plays important role in game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Nashville Predators earned a split decision in goals reviewed by video replay. Then they ended in a tie with the Florida Panthers.

"It's a big part of the game now, but unfortunately it takes so long because everything has to go through the league in Toronto," Nashville captain Greg Johnson said Saturday night after the 2-2 tie. "It's takes away some momentum from the game."

The Predators were awarded the tying goal on review but were prevented from getting the winning goal when another replay showed that Scott Walker batted the puck into the net with his arm.

"They like us in Toronto," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "It is good that they take the time to make the correct call.

"No matter what happens the next shift had got to be a good one. You can't dwell on the good or the bad."

The Predators pressed hard for the winning goal in the final minute of overtime. They kept the puck in the Florida end the whole time and fired several pucks at the net, including a drive by Scott Hartnell that rang off the right goal post.

"A guy like Hartnell is trying to blast the puck at the net all the time which is great," Trotz said. "We had a lot of puck possession."

Nashville took a 1-0 lead when Greg Johnson passed the puck across the front of the crease to Rem Murray, who was skating in from the left side. Murray tapped the puck past Florida's Roberto Luongo at 13:49 of the first period.

In the second, the Panthers needed only 25 seconds to tie it and take the lead. At 7:35, Marcus Nilson gained control of the puck along the left half wall and sent it toward the net. Bryon Ritchie stuck it past Tomas Vokoun on his stick side. Nathan Horton then scored on a wrist shot to make it 2-1 at 8:00.

The Predators tied it with 1:15 left in the second period when Martin Erat skated from behind the net and made a wraparound shot. The puck bounced out after hitting Luongo's skate. After a video replay, the Predators were awarded the goal as it was determined the puck crossed the goal line. Erat has points in his last three games.

"He just stuffed it and I couldn't see if it was in or not because it was under my pad," Luongo said.

Nashville's David Legwand pulled down Vaclav Nedorost as he skated toward the net and was awarded a penalty shot at 5:28 of the period. Vokoun stopped the attempt as the shot bounced off his chest. Vokoun has faced nine penalty shots in his career and has saved five.

"I wanted to go high glove, but I didn't go high enough," Nedorost said. "Vokoun made a great save."

The Predators thought they regained the lead at 9:00 when Walker slid on the ice in front of the net and knocked a shot by Hartnell past Luongo. Walker claimed the puck bounced off his shoulder, but after a video replay it was ruled that he intentionally batted the puck into the net.

"I didn't feel my arm hit the puck," Walker said. "We have a fair bit of equipment on. I hit the puck as I was getting hooked down, and I hit the ice at the same time.

"The wait was tough. We had a bit of a flow going. When you wait that long and it's a goal it helps with the flow. When you wait a long time and it's not one, it can really hurt you."

The Panthers, winners Friday night over Montreal, were pleased to get three points out of back-to-back games.

"We had a really gritty performance," Panthers coach Rick Dudley said. "You've got to like Nashville's team. They come hard at you. They're really good at home."

Game notes


The penalty shot by Nedorost was the first against the Predators this season. ... Florida's Mike Van Ryn had an assist in the game to become the Panthers' top defensemen in points with 13. Nashville's Kimmo Timonen played a team season-high 31:10. Nashville's Vladimir Orszagh has six points in six games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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