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Florida Panthers prospects split first two games of Coral Springs rookie tournament

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Kiddie Cats get torched by the Predators on Friday before bouncing back a day later with a Nick Bjugstad led, come-from-behind win over the Bruins.

Nick Bjugstad notched a hat trick against the Bruins during a rookie tournament game.
Nick Bjugstad notched a hat trick against the Bruins during a rookie tournament game.
USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers had the lead after two periods but ended up falling by an 8-4 count to the Nashville Predators in Friday's game at the Saveology.com Iceplex. Nashville burned Panthers goaltender Mack Shields for six third period goals on just ten shots in route to the victory.

Logan Shaw, John McFarland, Josh McFadden and Chris Clapperton lit the lamp for the Panthers. Nashville got its goals from  Miika Salomaki, Josh Shalla, Filip Forsberg, Mike Moffat, Pat Cehlin, Vinny Saponari, Tommy Veilleux and Zach Budish.

Rob Madore started the game for Florida and acquitted himself well, surrendering just two goals. Madore played for four seasons at the University of Vermont and has logged some games in both the ECHL and AHL since turning pro.

Saturday's result was much better as the Panthers, powered by a Nick Bjugstad hat trick, roared back from a 4-0 deficit to beat Boston 5-4 to claim its first victory of the tournament.

Boston defenseman Zach Trotman started off the scoring by slapping in a shot from the blue line. The goal came after a spirited bout between Florida's Tony Turgeon and B's defender Chris Casto. Bruins center Alexander Khokhlachev scored easily off the rush with a backhand shot to make it 2-0. Trotman let loose from the blue line again and this time had his shot redirected by Anthony Camara to extended the Bruins lead to 3-0 at the 6:35 mark. Soon after the goal, Panthers defenseman Jonathan Racine pounded Camara as the two engaged in a bit of fisticuffs. Winger Jared Knight capped off the first period scoring for Boston.

Racine got the Panthers comeback started by firing in a long shot for his first goal of the tournament. Nick Bjugstad used his enormous size to score twice from close range to pull the Panthers within a goal as the teams headed to the third period.

Bjugstad stuffed in another goal to complete the hat trick on a nice feed from defenseman MacKenzie Weegar. Weegar would pick up another assist on Quinton Howden's game-winning goal later in the period.

Rob Madore put in a second-straight strong performance, stopping all 18 shots he faced, to get the win in relief of Michael Houser, who surrendered all four of Boston's first period goals.

The Panthers will finish off the tournament with a game today against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4 p.m.

Highlights of all the action from the rookie tournament can be found on PanthersVision.