The Florida Panthers held their second scrimmage on the third day of training camp Saturday morning and both sides had an incentive to win as coach Joel Quenneville said the side which came out on top got to choose when they played on Sunday.
Thanks in part to a pair of goals from Owen Tippett, the Florida ‘Blue’ team won 4-3 in a shootout and chose to play in the first game of Sunday’s preseason doubleheader against the Nashville Predators at FLA Live Arena.
Jonathan Huberdeau ended it with the shootout goal.
“Yeah, we wanted it,’’ Sam Bennett said. “We wanted the game at 2. It’ll be nice to get some rest after the game, watch the (second) game or watch some football. We’re happy to get the win today.”
The two sides again played two 25-minute periods with a shootout deciding the winner.
Goalies Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight each got a period with both giving up a single goal.
Tippett, playing on the second line with Bennett and Huberdeau, had two nice goals as his strong showing in camp continued.
Also scoring Saturday: Mason Marchment, Eetu Luostarinen, Ryan Lomberg and Justin Nachbaur.
“To get back in the pace of games always helps, get a feel for who you’ll be playing with and get the chemistry built back up again,” Tippett said. “It’s always good to get back in the flow of things.”
For those attending Sunday’s doubleheader, here’s a sampling of who will play in Game 1: Huberdeau, Bennett, Tippett, Frank Vatrano, Patric Hornqvist, Aaron Ekblad, MacKenzie Weegar and Knight.
Game 2 will feature Sasha Barkov, Sam Reinhart, Carter Verhaeghe, Anthony Duclair, Gus Forsling, Brandon Montour, Radko Gudas and Bobrovsky.
Quenneville said he’ll be behind the bench for both games.
“The second half of the scrimmage was really good, there was a real pace to their game and they played to win,” said Quenneville, who watched the scrimmage from a luxury box with owner Vinnie Viola and GM Bill Zito.
“They had fun out there, there were some nice plays and nice goals. We saw some real skill on some of the lines. They can do some pretty neat things. You’re also seeing some other lines with that ability to score. We’ve got some depth.”
On Friday, the Panthers announced that prospect Justin Sourdif signed his three-year entry level contract following a strong development camp and impressive start to training camp.
With the WHL junior season about to start, Saturday was likely Sourdif’s final practice with the team before he heads back to the Vancouver Giants. Last year, he scored 11 goals with 34 points in 22 games with the Giants and he is expected to have another big season in the WHL.
Of course, he’ll get to play Sunday in Game 1 before he heads back to junior.
“There have been a lot of nerves, a lot of excitement,” said Sourdif, who was a third-round pick by the Panthers in 2020. “I have been working really hard ever since I was drafted by Florida and got a contract. I love South Florida and want to stay in this organization. I have achieved that first step. Now it’s work, day-in, day-out.”
— Center Joe Thornton was back at practice Saturday after sitting out Friday; he did not scrimmage and is not expected to play Sunday.
PANTHERS ON DECK
PRESEASON DOUBLEHEADER VS. NASHVILLE PREDATORS
- When: Sunday, 2/6 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- Tickets/parking for both games: $10 donation AVAILABLE HERE
- 2021 regular season series: Florida won 5-2-1
- TV/Radio: None
- Streaming: FloridaPanthers.com
FLORIDA PANTHERS POTENTIAL LINEUP
GAME 1 VS. NASHVILLE PREDATORS, 2 P.M.
Jonathan Huberdeau – Sam Bennett – Owen Tippett
Frank Vatrano – Noel Acciari – Patric Hornqvist
Maxim Mamin – Zac Dalpe – Aleksi Heponiemi
Justin Nachbaur – Justin Sourdif – Serron Noel
MacKenzie Weegar – Aaron Ekblad
Matt Kiersted – Kevin Connauton
Max Gildon – Chase Priskie
Spencer Knight – Chris Gibson
FLORIDA PANTHERS POTENTIAL LINEUP
GAME 2 VS. NASHVILLE PREDATORS, 6 P.M.
Carter Verhaeghe – Sasha Barkov – Sam Reinhart
Mason Marchment – Eetu Luostarinen – Anthony Duclair
Grigori Denisenko – Juho Lammikko – Ryan Lomberg
Tyler Hutsko – Cole Schwindt – Henry Bowlby
Gus Forsling – Brandon Montour
Markus Nutivaara – Radko Gudas
Lucas Carlsson – Noah Juulsen
Sergei Bobrovsky – Sam Montembeault – Evan Fitzpatrick