Panthers split doubleheader with Nashville

Cats take the matinee, Preds hold on to win nightcap

The Florida Panthers returned to action by splitting a preseason doubleheader with the Nashville Predators at the BB&T Center on Tuesday.

Panthers 4, Predators 1

The first game saw the Cats score three times in a 4:42 span in the third period to open up a four-goal lead on the Preds before Nashville scored the final goal of the 4-1 Florida win.

Dryden opened the scoring at the 13:07 of the first period, finishing off a nice pass from defenseman Jonathan Racine. Rookie Jonathan Ang picked up the secondary assist on the play.

The Predators controlled the second period, out-shooting the Panthers 18-8, but were kept off the scoreboard by goalies James Reimer and Sam Brittain.

Reimer exited the game after stopping all 12 shots he faced in 30:39 of action. Brittain went the rest of the way, stopping 24 of 25 shots.

The Cats put the game away with an explosive start to the final frame.

Greg KcKegg scored just 11 seconds in from MacKenzie Weegar and Riley Stillman to give Florida some breathing room.

Ang added on at the 3:47 mark with the lone assist credited to Michael Downing.

Free-agent acquisition Jonathan Marchessault tallied 55 seconds after Ang to put the Cats up comfortably by four.

The Predators finally got on the board on James Neal’s power-play at 9:35. Assists on the goal went to Yannick Weber and Calle Jarnkrok.

Marek Mazanec went the first periods in goal for Nashville, stopping 15 of 16 shots. The Cats had a much easier time with his backup, Jonas Gunnarsson in the third. Gunnarsson finished with 4 saves on 7 shots.

Predators 2, Panthers 1

Miikka Salomaki and Pontus Aberg scored first period goals Nashville held on for a 2-1 victory over Florida in the second game of the day.

Salomaki’s goal came on the power play and was set up by Anthony Bitetto and Alexandre Carrier at the 6:51 mark.

Bitetto drew the only assist on Aberg’s even-strength goal at 12:27.

Both Nashville goals came against starter Roberto Luongo, who went the first 32:26 and finished with 12 saves.

Veteran AHLer Mike McKenna was the second Florida goalie and finished with 8 stops.

The Panthers got their only goal late in the second period when Paul Thompson lit the lamp with 2:03 left in the frame from Rihards Bukarts and Chase Balisy.

Juuse Saros saved 13 of 14 shots and Mark Visentin stopped five for the Predators.

World Cup

Canada defeated Team Europe 3-1 in game one of the World Cup final in Toronto. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each had a goal and assist, Steven Stamkos scored the eventual winner and Sidney Crosby had two helpers for Canada. Tomas Tatar scored the only goal for Europe. Canada’s Carey Price stopped 30 shots while Europe’s Jaroslav Halak turned aside 35.