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(Saturday, January 4th)
Final Score: Florida 5, Nashville 4 (SO)
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Tomas Kopecky scored in the sixth round of the shootout to lift the Florida Panthers over the Nashville Predators, 5-4, on Saturday.
Kopecky also scored in regulation for the Panthers, who went 2-2-1 on a five- game homestand. Brad Boyes and Marcel Goc each had a goal and an assist.
Florida defenseman Ed Jovanovski made his season debut. He played for the first time since March due to hip surgery.
"It felt good just being with the guys and being able to celebrate a goal," said Jovanovski. "We made it closer than we wanted to but found a way to come out with two points."
Tim Thomas stopped made 38 saves for the victors.
Craig Smith, Mike Fisher, Seth Jones and Paul Gaustad scored for the Predators, who have lost two in a row. Marek Mazanec made 25 saves.
Trailing 4-2, the Predators scored two goals in the final 5:08 of regulation. Jones made it a one-goal game at 14:52 with a blistering wrist shot from the high slot that beat Thomas.
Gaustad tied it with 47.1 seconds left after Mazanec was pulled for an extra attacker. He put home a rebound following Shea Weber's shot from the point.
"Obviously it was good for us to come back," said Weber. "But we're digging ourselves holes and making mistakes we shouldn't be."
Smith started the scoring 6:32 into the game when he found a loose puck in front and beat Thomas.
Boyes poked home a loose puck at 11:03 to make it 1-1.
Kopecky gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead at 17:56. Goc's shot hit the outside of the net from a sharp angle and the puck ended up on the stick of Kopecky, who chipped the disc past Mazanec.
Fisher's one-timer at the 16:32 mark of the middle stanza made it 2-2.
Sean Bergenheim lit the lamp from the bottom of the right circle at 17:29
Goc made it 4-2 Florida at 1:34 of the third period after Jonathan Huberdeau picked off an errant pass from Jones behind the Nashville net and slid a pass in front for Goc.
Nashville had won two straight against the Panthers ... Florida forward Scottie Upshall returned to the lineup after sitting out three games with an upper-body injury ... Each team went 0-for-2 on the power play.
01/05 01:14:03 ET
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