NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Florida Panthers finally ended a long losing streak in Nashville.
Roberto Luongo made 32 saves to lead the Panthers to a 2-1 win over the Predators on Thursday night.
Quinton Howden and Jonathan Huberdeau scored for Florida, which won its fourth straight despite being outshot 33-16.
“We came in and Nashville played a great game against us,” Florida coach Gerard Gallant said. “They really put a lot of pressure on us and forced us. We battled, we worked hard, but they definitely had the majority of the game.”
The Panthers snapped a nine-game losing streak in Nashville, winning here for the first time since Dec. 11, 1999.
Roman Josi had the Nashville goal and Pekka Rinne had 14 saves. The Predators lost for the third time in four games.
“The goals just haven’t come,” Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “We know we can do it. We have guys who can score thirty and forty goals, so I think it will come.”
Howden scored the game’s first goal with 5:01 left in the first period. Panthers captain Willie Mitchell sent a pass up the left side that was tipped ahead by Connor Brickley. The puck landed on its side on the blue line and kicked to the right and onto Howden’s stick, and he beat Rinne with a wrist shot to the stick side.
“It was a fortunate bounce, it hit a stanchion, luckily I could find it quick enough to get a shot off,” Howden said. “We tried to just keep it simple. We made sure we got pucks out when we had to.”
Huberdeau made it 2-0 with 8:36 to go in the second. With Nashville captain Shea Weber off serving a delay of game penalty, Aleksander Barkov sent a pass to Huberdeau in the left circle, where he beat Rinne with a one-timer.
The Predators have allowed at least one power-play goal in six of their last seven games.
“We had our foot on the gas pedal for the last two periods there,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole we couldn’t get out of.”
Josi got the Predators on the board with 2:14 remaining in the second when Craig Smith’s slap shot from the left side deflected off of the shaft of his stick and past Luongo.
It was Josi’s first goal since Nov. 10.
Luongo denied Cody Hodgson from the low slot with 1 minute remaining, and Hodgson hit the crossbar on a redirection of Seth Jones’ shot 30 seconds later.
“I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t feel like it was in, and I looked at a couple of our guys and they were saying that it didn’t go in,” Luongo said. “I got a bit unlucky on the first goal, but I got lucky there at the end, so we’ll take it.”
NOTES: Nashville LW Colin Wilson returned to the lineup after missing one game with a lower-body injury. … Smith has assists in consecutive games. … Florida is 10-2-2 when scoring first this season.
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