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Monday Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum

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Thunderbirds split two on opening weekend

NHL: SEP 19 Preseason - Panthers at Canadiens Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Florida Panthers stand at 1-1 after Saturday night’s exciting home-opening 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Florida gets Monday off before facing the undefeated Carolina Hurricanes at the BB&T Center tomorrow night.

Down on the farm, the Springfield Thunderbirds produced the same record after splitting its two games over the weekend.

On Saturday, the Thunderbirds opened the 2019-20 AHL season at home with a 5-1 thumping of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Owen Tippett and Jonathan Ang each produced a goal and an assist. Blaine Byron, Dominic Toninato and Joel Lowry were the other Springfield goal-scorers. Ian McCoshen picked up two assists while Adam Rockwood, Tommy Cross, Ethan Prow and Kevin Roy each registered a helper. Chris Driedger got the start and stopped 24 of 25 shots.

The visiting Charlotte Checkers handed the T-Birds a 4-2 loss on Sunday. Prow scored late in the second period, from Ang and Lowry, to cut the deficit to 3-1. Brady Keeper notched his first professional with 2:38 remaining to pull Springfield within a goal with the lone assist going to Sebastian Repo before Julien Gauthier clinched it for the Checkers. Driedger turned away 36 of the 40 shots he faced in defeat.

In other minor league news, Ryan Bednard made 35 saves for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in a 4-1 preseason loss to the South Carolina Stingrays yesterday. Cliff Pu scored a goal in Greenville’s 4-2 loss to South Carolina on Saturday.