Let's skate two? Panthers, Preds do

SUNRISE — On an 87-degree summer day in South Florida, the Panthers tried to get people thinking about hockey.

Twice.

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.

Let's skate two? Panthers, Preds do 09/19/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 12:38am]

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