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Panthers Suffer First Loss Of The Preseason, 2-1 To Wild

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

First Round Draft Pick Olesz Scores Lone Florida Goal

GRAND FORKS, ND – Panthers 2004 first round draft pick LW Rostislav Olesz extended his preseason point scoring streak (2-1-3) to three games, scoring the Cats' lone goal in the club's 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Friday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Panthers (2-1-0) complete a stretch of three games in three nights when they visit their intrastate rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning, on Saturday night.

After a scoreless first period, Olesz put the Cats on the scoreboard when he took a feed from F Kristian Huselius and fired a shot between the pads of Wild netminder Manny Fernandez at 13:58. Fernandez stopped 27 of 28 shots on the evening.

Less than two minutes later, Wild C Brian Rolston joined a two-on-one rush with F Benoit Pouliot and beat Florida G Jamie McLennan on his glove side to knot the game at 1-1. Minnesota took the lead for the first time in the game at 6:29 of the middle frame when C Mikko Koivu netted his first goal of the preseason and the eventual game-winner. Rolston got an assist on the goal to give him a two-point night. Later on, Koivu was also the only player to score in the mandatory post-game shootout.

The Panthers penalty kill was stellar, stopping the Wild on all seven power play chances.

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