The Florida Panthers opened the 2022-23 preseason with an 4-3 overtime win over the host Nashville Predators on Monday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena.
Captain Sasha Barkov got the win for the Panthers as he scored just before the end of overtime.
Eetu Luostarinen opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal on the breakaway. He made a between-the-legs move before dragging it into a shot that beat Connor Ingram over his shoulder with 42 seconds left in the first period.
The Panthers found themselves on the penalty kill three times during the first period — all because of Radko Gudas penalties — but left the first period unscathed.
Florida picked up where it left off early in the second period.
Kai Schwindt threw the Panthers’ first shot of the period on net from the point and trickled off Ingram’s pad and in.
Juuso Parsinnen quickly got that goal back, scoring a breakaway goal on a high blocker-side shot on Nashville’s first shot of the second period.
After the Panthers failed to convert on a 5-on-3 power play, Roland McKeown fired a wide-angle shot on net that bounced off of Gus Forsling’s stick and into the net.
Ryan Lomberg gave the Panthers the lead back 1:21 into the third period, picking up a bounce off the boards and scoring from below the goal line.
With 5:25 to go, Ryan Johansen deflected a Nino Niederreiter shot past Mack Guzda to tie the game back up.
It appeared as though the game would be headed to a shootout but Barkov fired off a shot just as time was expiring.
It took a bounce off of Alexandre Carrier’s stick and beat the buzzer to give the Panthers the win.
Here are my takeaways from the Panthers’ preseason opener:
- Eetu Luostarinen was Florida’s best player on Monday afternoon. On top of his dazzling goal to start the game, he held sturdy on the Panthers’ 4-4 penalty kill alongside Sasha Barkov on the top unit.
- Sergei Bobrovsky finished the game with 10 saves on 12 shots (.833) before being relieved by Mack Guzda following the second goal. The only one of the two goals that was on him was Parssinen’s breakaway goal — a weak blocker side shot he could have stopped. The last goal pinballed on him a bit and bounced over his shoulder. Overall a decent first start of the preseason.
- Calle Sjalin was very active in the offensive zone. The 23-year-old registered two shots and got an assist on the third goal when another shot took a bounce off the boards and right to Ryan Lomberg’s stick.
- Eric Staal was given a good deal of penalty kill time and played a strong game in the defensive zone. He also had a few scoring chances, with his best chance coming on a 5-on-3 power play. Staal had a nice shot at an open net in front of him but could not lift the puck over Ingram’s outstretched pad.
- Aleksi Heponiemi had some jump to his game early in the first period. He had a couple of Grade A scoring chances and set up Santtu Kinnunen on another one.
- Radko Gudas took three penalties in the first period — slashing, tripping and interference. After playing a relatively disciplined game last season, he seemed to lose it early on. He plays a very physical game but needs to find the same discipline he had in 2021-22. Hey, it’s Day 1.
The Panthers will start Game 2 of their preseason doubleheader at 8:00 p.m. It will be streamed here.
FLORIDA PANTHERS PRESEASON
Monday: Florida 4, Nashville 3 (OT)
Monday: Nashville 4, Florida 0
Thursday: vs. Carolina, 7 p.m.
Saturday: at Carolina, 1 p.m.
Oct. 6: vs. Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8: at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m.