SUNRISE, Fla. – On an 30-degree, late-summer day in South Florida, the Florida Panthers tried to get people thinking about hockey.
The NHL pre-season started in most unusual fashion Monday, with the Panthers hosting the Nashville Predators for a doubleheader—one where no player actually skated in both games. Nashville won the first game 5-3, a matchup that began at 3:08 p.m. with an estimated 500 or so people in the seats, many of them ardent fans who wore Panthers jerseys.
Nearly seven hours later, Florida finished off a 4-3 win in the nightcap.
First-round draft pick Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist, and Tim Kennedy scored midway through the third period to give the Panthers the split. Eric Selleck and Mike Santorelli also scored in the nightcap, and Scott Clemmensen made 23 saves.
In the opener, Jani Lujunen’s goal with 3:11 left broke a tie and put Nashville ahead for good. The teams used different rosters for both games.
TORONTO (AP)—Tyler Bozak scored twice in the third period and Toronto began its pre-season schedule with a win over Ottawa.
Colby Armstrong opened the scoring for the Maple Leafs with a power-play goal in the first with Bozak drawing an assist. Carl Gunnarsson had the Leafs’ second goal on another power play in the second.
Jared Cowen scored both of Ottawa’s goals, one in the second and another in the third.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—Nathan Gerbe scored 4:09 into the third period to break a tie, and Buffalo beat Carolina in the pre-season opener for both teams.
Gerbe, who added two assists, scored on a tip-in from the slot, where he converted a lead pass from Paul Gaustad. Gaustad scored in the opening minute of the third period to tie it.
Brandon Sutter scored 23 seconds into the second period, giving Carolina a 1-0 lead on a backhander from the slot. Brian Boucher stopped all 14 shots he faced in two periods. Justin Peters played the third and allowed both Buffalo goals.
Drew MacIntyre started in goal for the Sabres and stopped nine of 10 shots. Jhonas Enroth turned aside 11 shots after entering the game midway through the second.