It was a controversial ending on Tuesday night in Florida as Nashville fell to the Panthers by a 2-1 final at BB&T Center. The loss keeps the Preds at 113 points on the season, preventing them from clinching the Central Division or Western Conference for the time being.
The Panthers had a 2-0 lead with less than four minutes to play in the third period, but Preds Captain Roman Josi beat Roberto Luongo with 3:52 to play in regulation to get his club on the board, and with 0.6 seconds left on the clock, Filip Forsberg jammed a loose puck over the goal line to tie the game.
However, with less than a minute to play an automatic review was initiated, and the Situation Room in Toronto determined there to be goaltender interference, negating the goal and leaving the Predators befuddled.
From the Situation Room: “The deliberate actions of [Viktor] Arvidsson’s stick caused Luongo to spin and cause the covered puck to come loose prior to the goal.”
“It was a tough call,” Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We obviously feel it was [Panthers defenseman Keith] Yandle who caused the goalie to be disrupted. He got on the backside of Arvidsson and moved him, so we 100 percent disagree with the call.”
“It’s a goal. It’s got to be a goal,” Forsberg said. “I don’t know what’s going on, and it’s so inconsistent that we don’t even know when it’s a goal or not, but it’s one that’s clearly a goal. The puck is never covered, the goalie had no clue where it is and it ends up on my tape and it’s in and they somehow don’t think so. I disagree 100 percent.”
Luongo made 45 saves in total on the night, while Preds netminder Pekka Rinne turned aside 31 shots of his own in what Nashville believed was a solid effort on their part. But ultimately, this one will be remembered for a goal that was, and then wasn’t.
“I think it was a goaltending duel,” Preds defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “Peks played amazing, their goalie played amazing too, and at the end of the day we didn’t score enough. All in all, I thought our game was pretty good, but not good enough.”
Forward Viktor Arvidsson returned to the Nashville lineup after missing one game with a lower-body injury. Miikka Salomaki was scratched in Arvidsson’s place.
Nashville’s final road trip of the 2017-18 season concludes on Thursday night in Washington where the Preds will meet the Capitals (TV coverage on NBCSN at 6 p.m. CT) before heading back to Bridgestone Arena to host the Columbus Blue Jackets in the season finale on Saturday night.
Pete Weber’s Postgame Report