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Preds fall to Panthers, fall to 1-1-0 in rookie tournament

Two down, one to go.

The Nashville Predators continued their strong play in the rookie tournament but fell to the Florida Panthers, 3-1, on Sunday night.

In a reversal from yesterday, Rob Madore started between the pipes for Nashville and Magnus Hellberg played the second half. Madore turned aside six of seven shots while Hellberg stopped 13 of the 14 he faced. Over the past 24 hours of hockey, Madore has allowed two goals on 29 shots and Hellberg has allowed just one on 25.

Needless to say, despite the loss on Sunday, they’re impressing the coaching staff.

“Both of them have played real well,” Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason said. “Magnus didn’t give anything up yesterday and I thought Madore played great yesterday. They both battled. It’s going to be fun to see them compete.”

Hellberg, who dealt with two separate injuries last season, is just thrilled to be back on the ice.

“I’m pretty happy,” he said about his play so far in the tournament. “I think my last game was in April so it was a long time ago. I felt a little rusty in the beginning last night but I think I grew into the game more and more. And today I built off yesterday. I felt a little more relaxed, was a little more patient and tracked the puck better [tonight].”

Florida got things started when Logan Shaw took an Aaron Ekblad pass and put it past Madore for the 1-0 lead early in the second.

Predators captain Colton Sissons would answer moments later as Filip Forsberg picked a Florida defenders pocket behind the net. The puck came to Sissons who evened the score.

“There was a little bit of a scramble up front and I think [Forsberg] tapped it off his pad,” Sissons said. “I knew I had to get it upstairs. Fortunately, I did that.”

Vincent Trocheck put a shot past Hellberg midway through the final frame to put the Panthers back up by a goal. Victoria Royals product Steven Hodges added the empty netter in the final minute to seal the victory.

“We had a lot of real good efforts from our group,” Evason said. “We had a ton of energy and had a lot of opportunities to score. We just need to finish. We were happy with all the guys. We thought we competed and we thought we saw a lot of good skill.”

The Preds will take the ice for one last rookie tournament game at Ford Ice Center on Tuesday afternoon. The Boston Bruins will be the opponent and the puck drops at 1:00pm.

Immediately following every rookie tournament game, we will pick a player from each team who made the biggest impression. Our “Impressions of the Game” for Nashville vs. Florida are as follows:
PREDATORS: Filip Forsberg (1 assist; always made things happen when on the ice, rebounded from a three-penalty game yesterday)
PANTHERS: Sam Brittain (19 saves; it was all Nashville early on and Brittain weathered the storm to keep his team in the game)

Florida 3, Nashville 1
Sunday, September 14, 2014 – Ford Ice Center

Nashville  0 1 0 0 – 1
Tampa Bay 0 1 2 0 – 3

1st Period – No Scoring.

2nd Period – Florida, Shaw 1 (Ekblad) 5:24. Nashville, Sissons 1 (Forsberg) 12:29.

3rd Period – Florida, Trocheck 1 (unassisted) 12:50. Florida, Hodges 1 (unassisted) 19:04 (EN).

Shots on Goal-Nashville 7-13-11-31. Florida 3-7-12-22
Power Play Opportunities-Nashville 0/11. Tampa Bay 0/8
Goalies-Nashville, Madore 0-0-0 (7 shots, 6 saves), Hellberg 0-1-0 (14 shots, 13 saves). Florida, Brittain 0-0-0 (20 shots, 19 saves), Saunders 1-0-0 (11 shots, 11 saves).