Predators coach Peter Laviolette on Ryan Johansen’s suspension
Paul Skrbina, The Tennessean
Peter Laviolette’s second bid to become the second U.S.-born head coach to win 600 games occurred without the Predators’ leading scorer, Ryan Johansen, who was suspended for two games for high-sticking the Jets’ Mark Scheifele.
The bid was unsuccessful, though, thanks to the Panthers, who handed the Predators their second straight loss, and fourth in five games Saturday, 4-2 at Bridgestone Arena.
Aaron Ekblad blasted the puck past Juuse Saros 4 minutes, 5 seconds into the first for a power-play goal and a 1-0 lead. Goals from Frank Vatrano and Vincent Trocheck made it 3-0 going into the third.
“It’s all attitude. It’s what you bring to the rink and bring to the game and it’s got to be better,” coach Peter Laviolette said of the teams recent slow starts.
The Predators woke up briefly during the third period.
Two goals in 38 seconds cut the deficit to one. Nick Bonino scored first, 2:45 into the third. Austin Watson then tipped in Bonino’s shot to make it 3-2.
Jared McCann stretched the Panthers’ lead to two at 11:38 of the third.
The Predators fell to 28-18-4, while Florida improved to 19-20-8.
Bignumber: 0-for-21. Predators on the power play in the last five-plus games. They are 23-for-170 this season, third-worst in the league.
Roster moves: The Predators called up Colin Blackwell from Milwaukee to take Johansen’s roster spot. The 25-year-old made his NHL debut.
Notable: Ekblad’s goal gave him nine goals this season, and 62 for his career, a franchise record for defensmen.
Quotable: “I’m not an 18-year-old kid anymore. Definitely going to be some nerves. Anybody who says (they don’t) about their first game is lying through their teeth. Some guys have pulled me aside and said some really nice things. … Once I get the first shift under my belt it’s going to be smooth sailing.”
Next: At Avalanche, 2 p.m. Monday at Pepsi Center, Denver
TV/radio: ESPN-plus, FOX Sports Tennessee/102.5-FM
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