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Panthers Down Predators 6-3 In Game One Of Double Header

Gudbranson, Upshall net two each to lead Cats to victory.

Monday, 09.16.2013 / 7:10 PM ET / News
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Panthers Down Predators 6-3 In Game One Of Double Header

By Nikki Ghorpade, University of Miami

The temperature in Sunrise is 80s, but in the BB&T Center, it was much cooler despite the excitement for the pre-season opener on Monday afternoon. This was the scene at the BB&T Center as the Florida Panthers took on the Nashville Predators in their first game of a double-header.

The “Hunt for Red October” commenced as the Panthers took the first face-off of a seven-game preseason schedule that culminates with a showdown against cross state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lighting, at home on Saturday, Sept. 28. The real season kicks off on Oct. 3 with a trip to Dallas to face the Stars, and the real draw for fans will be the home opener against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on a Friday night, Oct. 11.

The fans in attendance were given a thrill to kick off the pre-season slate as Florida came back from a 3-1 deficit to score five unanswered to win going away, 6-3.

The Zender family came dressed in Panthers’ regalia, including a toddler size Cats jersey for their 1.5-year-old daughter, Emily. The Zenders, originally from Germany, came to South Florida five years ago, but have been fans of hockey, and the Cats, for much longer. Manuela Zender says that before they moved, she made sure that there was a hockey team she could support in the area, otherwise the move would be a no-go. The family hails from Cologne, Germany where former Panthers’ star, Bill Lindsay, played for Kolner Haie in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. This connection sealed the deal for Manulea becoming a Panthers fan.

During one of the family’s first games at the BB&T Center, when Emily was only 3- months-old, Manuela sported a Kolner Haie jersey and while they walked throughout the arena, Bill Lindsay spotted her, gave a her a big toothy grin and took a picture with the family. Lindsay is in his third season as the Panthers’ television analyst for FOX Sports Florida, with the Zender Family as his avid followers.

Emily Zender may be a first generation American, but she is a second-generation Panthers fan. When asked if she wants to be hockey player one day she yells “Panthers!” and her mother replies, “She can be whatever she wants, as long as she’s a Panthers fan.”

In the game, the Panthers came back from an early deficit and also showed they can bring physicality to the game by laying some bone-crunching hits and dropping the gloves against the opponents. Both Steven Pinizzotto and Tony Turgeon displayed their pugilistic skills in brawls with various Predators players, which got the fans up from their seats and wanting more Nashville blood.

After an early Nashville goal (44 seconds in) the Panthers got on the board thanks to the man advantage. Forward Scottie Upshall scored on a powerplay with assists from his defensemen Colby Robak and Erik Gudbranson, respectively, six minutes into the contest. Nashville managed to put up two more goals after the Panthers first blood, to hold the 3-1 advantage after one period of play but from the second period onwards, goals rained in from Panther sticks. Gudbranson scored two of his own, and Upshall managed to card a goal midway through the third period, helping seal the deal for Florida and bringing and auspicious feeling for the fans. Tryout forward Brad Boyes stuffed home a goal from the doorstep with seven and a half minutes to play and Quinton Howden netted the final goal of the game with 4:21 left on the clock.

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
5 PIT 77 42 24 11 211 194 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 PHI 77 31 29 17 202 220 79
12 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 78 29 43 6 204 249 64
16 BUF 77 22 47 8 152 258 52

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 74 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 76 8 33 -4 41
B. Boyes 74 13 23 10 36
A. Ekblad 76 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 67 18 14 -6 32
A. Barkov 66 14 17 -3 31
B. Campbell 77 3 23 2 26
B. Pirri 44 21 2 6 23
D. Bolland 48 5 16 1 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 18 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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