Preds Sweep Preseason Doubleheader, Take Two Against Florida
Nashville Scores Seven in Two Games as Preseason Schedule Beginsby Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator
One win in a single day is satisfying enough. A second is even better.
The Nashville Predators swept their preseason doubleheader with the Florida Panthers on Monday at Bridgestone Arena, as the two clubs saw their first game action since NHL training camps opened last week.
The first contest saw the Preds take a 6-3 victory, and they followed that up with a 1-0 shutout in the night cap to finish off a successful day.
"Overall, I think just for the two games, it's a good start," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "There's a lot of young players out there, a lot of young kids with an opportunity, and they fought hard to get a couple of wins."
Nick Bonino scored twice in the early outing, with Austin Watson, Tanner Jeannot, Philip Tomasino and Rem Pitlick also adding goals on the afternoon, as the Preds came back from a 3-1 deficit. Troy Grosenick and Connor Ingram split duties in net for the win, and Ingram stopped all 11 shots he faced.
Video: Richard, Watson, Bonino talk preseason debut and win
For the 18-year-old Tomasino, the first taste of NHL action was an invaluable experience, and something he won't soon forget.
"It was definitely really intense," Nashville's 2019 first-round pick said. "The main thing is guys are a lot bigger, especially in the wing battles. Guys are a lot stronger, so you need to be quicker, smarter to win those 1-on-1 puck battles. I thought I adjusted pretty well as the game went on."
In the second half of the doubleheader, it was Laurent Dauphin's first-period goal that stood as the lone marker on the night, and in the Nashville net, Juuse Saros and Ken Appleby combined for the 27-save shutout.
The rosters in both outings had a mix of rookies and veterans, and while some are looking to make first impressions, others just wanting to get back into game shape; everyone is still working toward a common goal.
"Results are huge, but just getting a little bit better every day [is key]," Nashville forward Craig Smith said. "Just pushing yourself and always coming to camp and trying to be in good shape, and there's a part of it where you're playing with a team and you have to get back into the group, and I think that just works out through practices and through the games, getting different looks and being sharp whenever you can."
Video: Smith, Ellis chat Preds' 1-0 win in preseason game
For some, finding the back of the net and getting on the scoresheet is an easy way to catch the eye of coaches and management, but for those who don't contribute on the offensive side, there are still other ways to make a mark.
"I just think from their work ethic, and we're trying to really emphasize speed and attitude with the we play the game," Laviolette said. "The physicality of the game, the 1-on-1 battles, hockey sense, so there's lots of areas where you can make an impact. It doesn't necessarily have to be on the scoresheet."
The Predators did find seven goals on the ledger over the course of the day, however, and that was enough to come out with a pair of victories. There is still plenty of training camp left, and with that comes plenty to improve upon, but if you're looking for a positive start, this was it.
"We'll go back and find some things, and we've got a lot to work on, but it's good for us," Smith said. "We like to work, so let's do it."
Video: Laviolette shares thoughts on preseason doubleheader
Mattias Ekholm, Colton Sissons and Nick Bonino served as alternate captains in Nashville's first game of the doubleheader. Associate Captain Ryan Ellis sported an 'A' in the second matchup, along with Dan Hamhuis and Craig Smith.
Nashville's training camp schedule continues with practices on Tuesday and Thursday, as well as a scrimmage on Wednesday. All sessions are at Centennial Sportsplex and are free and open to the public.
The preseason slate continues later in the week for the Preds with a home-and-home set against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nashville will head to Florida's Gulf Coast for a Friday-night meeting before returning home to host the Bolts on Saturday at Bridgestone Arena.