The Florida Panthers closed out their preseason doubleheader with the Nashville Predators by taking a 4-0 loss in the nightcap despite a solid job in net from Spencer Knight.
Just over an hour after Sasha Barkov ended a thrilling overtime game with a buzzer-beating shot, the Panthers’ second game turned into a dud.
Nashville had Florida pinned in its defensive zone for the majority of the first period and it paid off midway through when Filip Forsberg sent a rocket of a snapshot through a sea of Florida defenders and past Knight to put the Predators up 1-0.
The Predators did not let off the gas as Knight stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced in the first period.
After a quiet second period, it appeared Florida tied it up when Nick Cousins found a loose puck and put it past Yaroslav Askarov with 12:41 to go.
It was not to be.
The Panthers were instead headed to the penalty kill as Chris Tierney took a slashing penalty seconds before the puck went into the net.
Nashville cashed in on the ensuing power play with a slap shot goal by Cody Glass.
Colton Scissons extended the lead with a backhand goal on the breakaway with 6:30 to go.
Ryan McDonagh scored the dagger from the point four minutes later.
Here are my takeaways from the second half of Monday’s doubleheader:
- Spencer Knight was outstanding in his preseason debut. Outside of Forsberg’s goal, which was more of a showcase of the perennial All-Star’s shooting ability than anything, he was perfect. The Panthers left him out to dry on multiple occasions and he came up with save after save to keep them in the game. He finished the game with 19 saves on 20 shots (.950) before Alex Lyon took over for him in net.
- The Anton Levtchi-Chris Tierney-Gerry Mayhew line was most often pinned in its own zone. Nashville often paired Forsberg’s line up against it and it had free reign in the offensive zone for the majority of the game. With Tierney taking the slashing penalty that swung the game in Nashville’s end, he did not help his chances of making the big roster in this one.
- Matthew Tkachuk had a quietly good Panthers (preseason) debut. His line was the only one which established significant offensive zone time and he came out with two takeaways, a hit, a blocked shot and a shot on goal.
- Nick Cousins did all of the right things in the third period. He was fighting for pucks in the corners and crashing the net looking for opportunities and he would have had a goal had it not been for the Tierney penalty.
- Lyon gave up three goals on 18 shots (.833) in his Florida debut. While the team in front of him was not up to par at times (especially on Scissons’ goal off of a bad change) it seems like J-F Berube has the upperhand over him for that third goaltender job through the first four days of training camp. While Berube did not see game action Monday, he has stood out a lot more throughout practices. There’s still a long way to go, though.
- With the doubleheader over, the Panthers will take Tuesday off and are expected to make a number of roster moves prior to Wednesday’s practices in Coral Springs.
- The Panthers welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to Sunrise on Thursday night with special $15 tickets to benefit youth hockey in South Florida.
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.