SUNRISE — Andrew Brunette was behind the bench for the first time as head coach of the Predators for their preseason doubleheader against the Florida Panthers.
It was not a very memorable trip for Brunette’s new team.
After winning the opener 5-0 on Monday afternoon, the Panthers scored four in the first period of the nightcap and ended up winning 5-2 in Game 2.
Brunette, the former interim coach of the Panthers who led them to the Presidents’ Trophy in 2022, was an associate head coach for New Jersey last season before being hired by Barry Trotz and the Preds.
On Monday, Nashville could not match Florida’s star power as the Predators iced two lineups which were much younger and inexperienced than the Panthers.
It certainly looked it.
Nashville committed 10 penalties in the opener and then gave up four goals in the first period of Game 2 despite having Juuse Saros in net.
Florida started the scoring on a goal down low from Kevin Stenlund at 8:25 with Sam Bennett scoring off a Matthew Tkachuk rebound 90 seconds later.
Bennett ended up with three points in the first period alone as he then assisted on goals from Niko Mikkola and Dmitry Kulikov.
Florida started Sergei Bobrovsky and he played 33:43 and made 15 saves.
Nashville did not get its first goal of the doubleheader until 8:36 of the second when Jake Livingstone drove in with a nice move and got a puck past Bobrovsky.
This came after Bobrovsky stopped three breakaways in the second period alone.
Nashville closed the gap to a pair of goals when Michael McCarron whipped a shot past Mack Guzda with 2:20 remaining.
Kulikov got his second of the night with 1:11 by scoring into an empty net.
The Panthers will be headed to Carolina for a traditional exhibition game on Wednesday night and most of their top players are expected to stay home after playing Monday.
GR’S 3 STARS OF GAME 2
1. Sam Bennett, Florida (goal, 2 assists)
2. Dmitry Kulikov, Florida (2 goals, assist)
3. Nick Cousins, Florida (2 assists)
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
PRESEASON AT CAROLINA HURRICANES
- When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
- Where: PNC Bank Arena, Raleigh
- TV/Radio: None
- Streaming: FloridaPanthers.com
LOOKING AHEAD FOR THE PANTHERS
- Friday: Preseason vs. Carolina, 6 p.m.
- Sunday: Preseason vs. Ottawa at Sydney, Nova Scotia; 4 p.m.
- Oct. 3: Preseason vs. Tampa Bay at Orlando Arena, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 5: Preseason at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 7: Preseason vs. Tampa Bay, 6 p.m.
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild (BSF)
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (BSF)