Two goals from Miikka Salomaki - including the overtime winner - led the way for the Nashville Predators as they finished off their doubleheader with the Florida Panthers to open the preseason schedule.
Salomaki bookended a 3-2 OT win for the Preds in the second outing of the day after Nashville fell 5-3 to Florida in the early contest.
Earlier in training camp, Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette called the doubleheader one of the best ways to evaluate players, affording him the chance to see 40 of the 53 on Nashville's current roster in game action within the span of a few hours. Combine Sunday's intrasquad scrimmage with Tuesday's doubleheader and Laviolette saw exactly what he wanted.
"We're putting our players in game-like situations to see what they can do, and to me, that's the only way you can see where guys are," Laviolette said. "Lots of guys come into camp in shape, and they're ready to prove that they can play at this level, or that they want to move up the lineup at this level. The best way to do that is through the exhibition games, and for me, that purpose really got served today."
Colton Sissons notched the other marker in the second game win while Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback split time in net, allowing one goal each.
Video: Laviolette talks Preds OT win in preseason game
The first contest of the day brought about goals from Cody McLeod, Emil Pettersson and Viktor Arvidsson with an appearance from Juuse Saros in between the pipes. A number of infractions on both sides gave the Preds plenty of opportunities to try out the special teams, not necessarily a bad thing in the early stages of the preseason.
"I liked the game because we did get an opportunity to look at the [penalty kill] and the power play and even strength," defenseman P.K. Subban said. "In the second period, when we were cycling on extended shifts and creating opportunities on net, that's what we need to do. When we're on our game, that's what we do but… it's the first preseason game. We have five more to get tuned up and get ready for the real hockey."
Defenseman Alexei Emelin, acquired in the offseason from Vegas, made his impact felt in the first outing when he stepped up and delivered a thunderous, open-ice hit, exactly what he's know for around the League.
"He doesn't have to prove [his physicality] to anybody, but I love it when he does," Subban said of Emelin. "When he steps up and initiates contact, he's probably in the top three guys in the League in terms of stepping up and catching guys like that. He's done it his whole career. I've watched him do it for a lot of years, and I can't wait to see him do it in Gold this year."
Both games featured rosters with a mix of veterans and those trying to prove themselves, with young players like Pettersson, forward Vladislav Kamenev and defenseman Samuel Girard making solid impressions.
Players like Salomaki, defenseman Anthony Bitetto and Captain Roman Josi also starred in the second game, while Scott Hartnell was noticeable in his first game back in a Preds uniform.
Video: Miikka Salomaki reflects on two-goal performance
Arvidsson finished with a goal and an assist in game one, and Subban added two assists. Calle Jarnkrok and Kevin Fiala had one assist apiece. In the second contest, Frederick Gaudreau collected two helpers; Bitetto, Josi and Tyler Kelleher had one assist each.
Predators training camp continues all week with practices at Centennial Sportsplex, free and open to the public. Nashville then hits the road on Friday night to face the Lightning in Tampa Bay at 6:30 p.m. CT, before a Sunday afternoon matchup in Columbus against the Blue Jackets at 2 p.m.
The Preds will close out the preseason slate next week when they host the Blue Jackets on Sept. 28 and the Lightning on Sept. 30.
Video: McLeod, Pettersson and Arvidsson score in loss
Video: Salomaki scores two as Predators triumph in OT