It's preseason hockey, twice as nice.
The Nashville Predators begin their exhibition slate for the 2017-18 season today at Bridgestone Arena when they host the Florida Panthers for two contests, the first of which begins at 3:30 p.m. CT.
It'll be the first time the Preds have been on the ice as a team since June, with rosters for both games set to have a mix of proven players and those trying to catch the eye of the Nashville brass. With 53 players on the current roster, all but 13 are expected to see some sort of game action today.
Here are the Predators rosters for both games against the Panthers.
As the Preds prep for their preseason doubleheader against the Panthers, here are three things to watch for:
Double the Evaluations:
Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette says today's setting provides him the best opportunity to see what he has on his roster, as no practice or scrimmage can completely simulate the feel of a game. Therefore, Laviolette and his staff will be paying close attention, particularly to those who may be trying to win a roster spot - either now or in the future.
"I feel like [the doubleheader is] the best way to evaluate somebody," Laviolette said. "I really like the double games because we get to see a lot of guys play in the competition. That's a really good evaluation of where our guys are at and how they're playing."
Video: Coach Laviolette works on system implementation
We've all heard the saying: "It's just like riding a bike." Professional hockey players don't need much assistance to get their feet back under them and their timing back, but they also relish the chance to skate in a least a couple of contests in the preseason to ensure they're up to speed.
For defenseman Matt Irwin, the chance to participate in Sunday's intrasquad scrimmage was the perfect way to lead into the real thing.
"[The systems are] going to be a little messy, but we did a good job in sticking with the system [in the scrimmage]," Irwin said. "I'm glad I got to play in it for that reason. You get one in there… and it's a great way to get ready for Florida on Tuesday."
Video: Irwin, McLeod reflect on intrasquad scrimmage
Back at Bridgestone:
The atmosphere figures to be a bit muted compared to the last time the Preds hit the ice in their home building, but a double dose of hockey at Bridgestone Arena will be the first time many of today's participants have skated in an NHL hockey game. There's no better venue to start in for an extra boost of motivation as camp continues, so watch to see who may step up and make a name for themselves.
When You Go:
Tickets are still available for both of today's games at 3:30 and 7 p.m. Fans can go to NashvillePredators.com/Hurricane and enter promo code HURRICANE to unlock $5 Upper Level and $10 Lower Level tickets for the 3:30 p.m. game, with 100% of the revenue benefiting hurricane relief.
Take It In:
Fans can listen to today's games as Pete Weber and Hal Gill call the action on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network or watch online - within the Predators TV viewing area - on Nashville Predators.com.