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Panthers Dive into Preseason with Doubleheader in Nashville

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

Joel Quenneville has seen almost everything you can in the NHL.

He skated in over 800 regular-season games during his 13-year career as a player and has won 890 more - the second-most in NHL history - as a head coach. He's also won four Stanley Cups as a coach, including three as the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

But a preseason doubleheader? Well, that's a first.

"I know that it's different," the new Florida Panthers bench boss said following the third day of training camp at the Panthers IceDen on Sunday afternoon. "You get to see 40 guys in one day. It's going to be a different kind of day, but I'm looking forward to it."

Hired in April, Quenneville will get his first look at his new team in competitive action when they kick off their eight-game preseason slate in Nashville on Monday with their annual doubleheader against the Predators at Bridgestone Arena - a very unique tradition that began back in 2011.

Florida is carrying 51 players into its matchup in the Music City after shaving 10 skaters (four defensemen, six forwards) off the training camp roster during the first round of cuts on Sunday.

On their way to the training camp of Florida's AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, are defensemen Gustav Bouramman and Dylan MacPherson, and forwards Matt Marcinew, Greg Meireles, Liam Pecararo, and Matthew Wedman. Meireles and Wedman were drafted in June.

Four other members of the team's 2019 draft class were also cut, as defensemen Vladislav Kolyachonok and John Ludvig, and forward Cole Schwindt and Henrik Rybinski have been returned to their respective junior clubs. Kolyachonok inked his entry-level contract on Friday.

During last weekend's scrimmages, all of these recent draftees showed a lot of promise.

As for the players still with the Panthers, not all will have a chance to face the Predators.

Given the size of their current roster, 11 or so players will have to watch from the press box as the others hit the ice. Since these are the first two games of the preseason, it's likely that both lineups feature plenty of rookies and players on the bubble still attempting to stake their claim.

The first game will begin at 4:30 p.m. ET while the nightcap is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.

Doug Plagens will have the call for both contests on radio through the NHL App.

"We've got a busy trip, a busy day tomorrow," Quenneville said. "You get to see 40 guys play. It'll be a good opportunity to get a better assessment of some of the guys, get them against enemies. It's one of those games where early in the first game you're looking just to see how they compete as you go along through camp. The second game's going to be comparable."

The last time the Panthers double dipped in Nashville, they won one game 5-3 and lost the other 3-2 in overtime back in 2017. Last year, the Predators secured both games in Sunrise.

Florida went 1-1-0 against Nashville during the regular season in 2018-19. They won 4-2 on the road on Jan. 19 and lost 4-1 at home on Feb. 1. Evgenii Dadonov, Vincent Trocheck and Colton Sceviour led the Panthers in total scoring over the two contests, each registering two points.

Stay tuned to @FlaPanthers and @JamesonCoop on Twitter for updates and game coverage.

NOTES

-- Frank Vatrano scored three goals in four scrimmages over the weekend. For all four games, he lined up alongside Vincent Trocheck and newcomer Brett Connolly. "We know what Frankie can do," said Trocheck, who's skated a total of 341:40 with Vatrano at 5-on-5 over the past two seasons, per NaturalStatTrick.com. "He's a shooter and works his butt off every game."

-- Sergei Bobrovsky was between the pipes for both halves of the first scrimmage on Sunday morning. The two-time Vezina Trophy Winner didn't show any signs of rust during the game, surrendering just two goals over 50 minutes to help lead Group A to a 3-2 win over Group C.

-- Henrik Borgstrom and Mike Hoffman have been linemates to start training camp. On their other wing, both four-year pro Denis Malgin and rookie Aleksi Heponiemi have seen time.

-- Florida's top line of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov -- a trio that combined for 93 goals and 195 points last season - has been put back together to start training camp. So far, the line has lit the lamp at least once during each day of scrimmages.

HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN

When: Monday, Sept. 16, 4:30 p.m. / 8:00 p.m.

Where: Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, TN

TV: n/a

Radio: NHL App

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