April 4, 2018 / 3:01 AM / 19 days ago

Luongo, Panthers stifle Predators to lift playoff hopes

Jonathan Huberdeau and Colton Sceviour scored, and Roberto Luongo made 45 saves as the Florida Panthers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators.

Nashville’s Filip Forsberg appeared to score with 0.3 seconds left in the third period, but, upon review, the goal was wiped out for interference, giving Florida the win.

The Panthers, who have 90 points, are competing for the final wild-card playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. They trail the Philadelphia Flyers, who lost on Monday, by four points. The Flyers have just two games remaining. The Panthers have three.

Florida got just enough offense to stay alive on Tuesday. It was Huberdeau’s 26th goal of the season. For Sceviour, elevated to the top line in Florida’s previous game, it was his 10th goal of the season.

Luongo, who played his 999th career game, made numerous big saves one day before his 39th birthday. Luongo, who normally gets rest when the Panthers play on consecutive nights, beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Monday before taking down Nashville.

Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne made 31 saves and took the loss.

Despite the loss, the Predators have 113 points and a 51-18-11 record, which still puts them in line for the first Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history.

Florida opened the scoring with 1:30 left in the first period as Jamie McGinn fired a sharp-angle shot that deflected off Huberdeau’s body and into the net.

After Nashville had an 18-14 shots advantage in the first period, the Panthers reversed that trend. Florida had a 12-10 edge in shots on goal in the second period. But just one penalty was called in the first two periods — Nick Bonino was whistled for holding Florida’s Nick Bjugstad — and the Panthers power play failed to click.

Sceviour made it 2-0 with 9:27 left in the third period. The play was set up by Evgenii Dadonov on the rush, dishing a backhand pass to Sceviour.

Roman Josi got Nashville on the board with just 3:52 remaining in the third period. The Predators pulled Rinne for an extra attacker in the final three minutes but could not get the equalizer.

—Field Level Media

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