Panthers rookies thrash Nashville 6-3

Denis Malgin sparks the Cats to tourney-opening win

After Tampa Bay and Washington opened the annual rookie tournament at Panthers IceDen with a bang in a high-scoring 7-6 affair won by the Lightning, the Florida Panthers skated to a relatively easy 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators.

Denis Malgin scored two goals and set up the eventual game-winner by Jayce Hawryluk early in the third period.

Malgin open the scoring 6:37 into the first period, putting the puck over the shoulder of Nashville’s Juuse Saros with the assists going to Kyle Rau and Linus Hultstrom.

The 19-year-old Swiss forward made it 2-0 early in the second when he deflected a shot by defenseman Josh Brown by Saros.

After Juho Lammikko’s rebound goal made it 3-0 Panthers, Tylor Spink beat Colin Stevens to get the Predators on the board.

Stevens finished with 12 saves on 15 shots after relieving starter Samuel Montembeault, who turned aside all eight shots he faced in the first half of the tilt.

The goals came fast and furious in the third with Hawryluk putting home a backhand off a Malgin pass before Shane Walsh answered for Nashville.

Mike Matheson scored the game’s prettiest goal, roofing a backhander off a rush that eluded Saros short-side.

Kevin Fiala pulled the Predators back within two before Connor Brickley found the empty-net with one second left to complete the scoring.

Despite giving up five goals, Saros had a fine game for the Preds, making 39 stops to help keep his team in it.

The Panthers will get back at it this evening when they play the Capitals at 6 p.m. The Predators will take on the Lightning in the first game at 2:30 p.m.

Admission to all games is free or you can watch the action on the Panthers’ youtube channel.

World Cup of Hockey

Canada buried the Czech Republic 6-0 and Team USA was stunned by Europe 3-0 in tournament-opening Group A games from Toronto.

The Panthers participating will be in action tonight when Team North America (Ekblad, Trocheck) meets Finland (Barkov, Jokinen) at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

The early Group B game pits Sweden against Russia at 3 p.m. on ESPN2.