Panthers swept by Predators in preseason doubleheader
Cats offense sputters in back-to-back losses to Nashville.
The last time the Florida Panthers organization was in Tennessee a week ago, its prospects camp roster was sweeping three-straight games. This time, the Panthers were the prey, as the host Predators skated to a 2-1 shootout victory in the first game, and then beat the Cats by a comfortable 4-1 count in the second game.
Carter Hutton went the distance and stopped 23 of 24 shots, and made 2 more saves in the shootout, as Nashville won the first of the split-squad match-ups 2-1.
Craig Smith staked the Predators to an early lead, beating Panthers starter Al Montoya, at the 4:11 mark of the opening period. Montoya played the first two periods and finished with 9 saves on 10 shots before giving way to Sam Brittain, who stopped all 10 shots he faced in the third and overtime.
The Panthers tied in the game at 12:52 of the final frame with Nashville's Jimmy Oligny in the box for hooking Nick Bjugstad.
Brandon Pirri scored the power-play goal, his second of the preseason, from Jimmy Hayes and Shane O'Brien.
Nashville made short work of the Cats in the shootout with Derek Roy and Smith scoring, while Vincent Trocheck and Brad Boyes came up empty for Florida.
Roberto Luongo got the start against Pekka Rinne in the nightcap.
The Predators grabbed a first period lead again, when Pontus Aberg scored at 17:26 from Colton Sissons.
The Cats tied the game midway through the second on an Alex Petrovic slapshot. Greg Zanon and Drew Shore picked up the helpers on the goal.
Nashville retook the lead when 18-year-old rookie Kevin Fiala beat Luongo at the 14:41 mark of the middle frame. Luongo finished the game with 16 saves on 18 shots in 40 minutes of duty.
Dan Ellis came on to start the third period and only surrendered an unassisted goal to Aberg. The Predators completed the scoring on Austin Watson's empty-net goal with a 1:33 remaining.
Rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad made his preseason debut and struggled, finishing the game with a -3 rating.
The Panthers are now 0-1-2 in the preseason and will take on the Stars in Dallas on Monday night.