Preds fall to another desperate team in a heartbreaker to Panthers

by Jackson Walsh

The Nashville Predators were on the doorstep of their first Central Division title, but failed to clinch after a frustrating 2-1 loss at the hands of the Florida Panthers. It wasn’t a particularly bad effort on our part, but the Panthers played a strong game, especially veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Luongo had 45 saves on the night, standing on his head to stop nearly every shot he faced. Florida would get on the board first 18:30 into the first period when the puck was deflected past Rinne out of his field of vision into the back of the net. 1-0 Cats.

The majority of the rest of the game was like pulling teeth. The Preds couldn’t seem to corral the puck, constantly turning it over to the scrappy Panther defense, and also gave Florida a power play opportunity that was thankfully killed off.

Neither team could do much about the scoreboard until 10:33 into the third when Colton Sceviour found the back of the net getting the puck barely past Rinne for what seemed to be the nail in the coffin goal the Panthers were looking for. 2-0 Panthers.

The Predators looked down and out, but wouldn’t go down without a last minute flurry to come back in the contest. Roman Josi would finally break Luongo’s shutout bid, with a hard drive and shot through traffic into the five hole to cut the lead in half and give Nashville a fighting chance at forcing overtime.

And it would appear that that is what they eventually did, but remember we live in the day where the superiors in Toronto decide every close call. Filip Forsberg cut in back door for a beautiful goal to temporarily tie the game at 2, but because Viktor Arvidsson’s stick got in the way of ol’ Roberto’s ability to stop the shot, so saith the powers that be, the Preds were handed a frustrating 2-1 loss.

I don’t know what the worst aspect of last night was. The fact that we lost, the fact that Winnipeg won in overtime gaining ground on us, or the fact that the call on the ice should have stood.

This leads to an important discussion and analyzation for hockey fans though; What exactly is goaltender interference? It would appear that it’s a factor in a lot of our games, either there’s no interference and a goal counts or like last night where the slightest touch of the netminder waves off a goal.

There didn’t seem to be any contact or blindsiding by Arvi on that last drive to the net, and Forsberg came in from behind to get it in the net. But because he had a stick in front of him, nope no goal. No soup for you, Nashville. Where goaltenders have been pushed and shoved to the ice without goaltender interference getting in the way.

The official rules were recently changed as of March 28 where the NHL Situation room will handle all those tough judgments. Here are the rules, according to Table 18 of the NHL rulebook, in black and white:

A. An attacking player makes incidental contact with the goalkeeper while both are attempting to play a loose puck at the time a goal is scored. Goal is allowed.

There were a number of factors, including the fact that Luongo appeared to have initiated contact with Arvi’s stick and Yandle push his Arvi’s skate with his stick, coupled with the fact that the puck was loose between his legs (look at the overhead view at the 2.1 second mark) . It’s splitting hairs to find out what is contact, what is forcible contact, or what stops a goalie’s ability to stop the puck. Comment below, do you think there was goaltender interference with 2 seconds left in the game?

Time to see Trotz. Capitals next.


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