Florida Panthers drop first two preseason games in Nashville

Predators tame Cats with back-to-back wins

The Florida Panthers opened the preseason by getting swept by the Nashville Predators in a day-night doubleheader at Bridgestone Arena.

Florida got off to a good start in the first game, opening up a 2-0 first period lead thanks to goals from Brett Connolly and Colton Sceviour. In addition to opening the scoring, Connolly also drew an assist an Sceviour’s marker.

The Predators lit the lamp early in the second to halve the deficit before Jayce Hawryluk picked up the Panthers’ last goal of the two-game set, converting Blaine Byron’s feed 56 seconds later.

Nashville would go on to run off five straight goals, including a pair from Nick Bonino, to post a 6-3 win.

Chris Driedger got the start and finished with 15 saves on 17 shots. Philippe Desrosiers took the loss, stopping 8 of the 11 shots he faced,

In the guys seriously battling for a roster spot category, Owen Tippett had just one shot on goal and finished -1, while Denis Malgin picked up an assist and also finished with a -1 rating.

Defensemen Tommy Cross and Ethan Prow picked up helpers for Florida.

In the nightcap, Juuse Saros (16 saves) and Ethan Haider (11 saves) shared a shutout as the Predators nipped the Panthers by a 1-0 count.

Laurent Dauphin notched the game’s only goal 3:14 into the first period, with the lone assist going to Miikka Salomaki.

Sam Montembeault got the start for Florida and departed after 31:26 TOI with 18 saves on 19 shots. Ryan Bednard went the rest of the way and stopped all eight shots he faced.

Mike Hoffman, Anthony Greco, Dryden Hunt and Mike Matheson each had three shots on goal for the Cats.

Florida will face the Montreal Canadiens in Bathurst, New Brunswick on Wednesday night.

Expect the Cats to roll out its top line of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov as well as new starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.