Belfast Giants wasted a chance to extend their Elite League lead as they were beaten 3-2 by Nottingham in Saturday's clash at the Odyssey Arena.
Nottingham's win moved them to within seven points of the Giants.
Sheffield are nine points behind Belfast but have seven games in hand.
Adam Keefe cancelled out Sami Ryhanan's early Panthers goal but strikes by David Clarke and Matthew Myers put Nottingham 3-1 before Craig Peacock's final-period reply for the Giants.
Nottingham's win ended a six-match winning run by the Giants, which included Friday's 6-2 home win over Edinburgh.
Ryhanan put the Panthers ahead in the second minute before Keefe levelled two minutes later.
However, Clarke's powerplay goal restored Nottingham's advantage three seconds before the end of the first period.
Myers extended Nottingham's lead late in the second period and while Peacock pulled a goal back midway through the final period, the Giants could not get on terms.
Victory for the Giants would probably have knocked the Panthers out of the field race but they will move to within five points of the leaders if they beat Fife on Sunday evening.
Sheffield are also in action away to Dundee on Sunday.