SUNRISE — On an 87-degree summer day in South Florida, the Panthers tried to get people thinking about hockey.
The NHL preseason started in unusual fashion Monday, with the Panthers hosting the Predators for a doubleheader — one where no player skated in both games. Nashville won the first game 5-3, a matchup that began at 3:08 p.m. with an estimated 500 in the seats.
Nearly seven hours later, Florida finished off a 4-3 win in the nightcap.
"I think it's a neat idea," Panthers forward Steven Reinprecht said. "And it's definitely created a buzz."
The Panthers called it "Hockey Day in South Florida," with autograph sessions and plenty of reminders that the season starts for real next month.
More preseason highlights: Nathan Gerbe scored 4:09 into the third to break a tie, and the host Sabres beat the Hurricanes 3-1. … Tyler Bozak scored twice in the third, and the host Maple Leafs beat the Senators 4-2.
Around the league: Center Brayden Schenn and defenseman Blake Kessel, two rookies trying to make the Flyers, could face their brothers in a preseason game tonight in Toronto. The Leafs' roster includes All-Star forward Phil Kessel and defenseman Luke Schenn. … The Kings signed physical forward Kevin Westgarth, 27, to a two-year, $1.45 million deal through the 2013-14 season.