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Florida
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38-35-9
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Panthers-Predators Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Associated Press

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Panthers-Predators Preview
Florida Panthers vs. Nashville Predators

Tomas Vokoun posted 94 of his franchise record 161 wins at the Sommet Center over eight seasons with the Nashville Predators.

Vokoun likely will be in net for his new team, the Florida Panthers, on Saturday night in his first trip to Nashville since being traded in June as the teams meet for the first time since 2005.

Though a left thumb injury limited him to 44 starts in 2006-07 after averaging 67 over his previous three seasons, Vokoun went 27-12-4 as the Predators recorded a franchise-best 110 points and reached the playoffs for a third straight season.

Vokoun, who went 161-159-11 with 35 ties and a 2.95 goals-against average for Nashville, was one of a handful of stars - including Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg - who were traded or left via free agency in the offseason. He was dealt to Florida, giving the Panthers (4-6-0) a true No. 1 option in net since dealing Roberto Luongo to Vancouver before the start of last season.

Even though he made 29 saves in a 4-2 home loss to Buffalo on Friday, Vokoun could start on consecutive nights for the first time since last November. He has started all but two games for Florida with Craig Anderson as the backup.

Vokoun suffered some bad luck in the third period Friday when Buffalo's Drew Stafford scored on a wrist shot that bounced off the goalie's blocker high into the air, then fell in behind him to break a 2-2 tie.

"It's a bad goal and a bad break, too. That's a tough way to lose a game," Vokoun said.

Jozef Stumpel and Ville Peltonen each scored their second goals and Nathan Horton had an assist for Florida, which allowed a power-play and a short-handed goal Friday.

"We didn't win enough battles in front of the net for rebounds," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "We've got to be better."

Horton recorded his first point since going two straight games without one after recording six in his previous four contests. Horton posted his only career hat trick in Florida's 7-3 home victory over Nashville on Dec. 13, 2005.

It's uncertain who will start in goal for Nashville (3-6-0) on Saturday.

Chris Mason has two wins in eight starts with a 3.73 GAA and remains the team's top goalie. Backup Dan Ellis, though, made 20 saves in a 3-0 win over Atlanta on Thursday in his second career start - and first since with Dallas in 2003-04 - and could be rewarded with a second straight opportunity.

Thursday's win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Predators, who were shut out in their previous two contests and outscored 29-9 during their skid.

Jerred Smithson and Scott Nichol each scored their first goals of the season and Jordin Tootoo added his second and had an assist.

"We reflected back that we had to start playing for each other and get back to the work ethic we had at the beginning of the year," said forward Jason Arnott of the Predators, who scored nine goals in winning their first two games of the season. "We have to get back to having fun, not worrying about making mistakes and sticking to our system."

Center David Legwand had two assists Thursday to tie Arnott for the team points lead with seven.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Oct 27 '07 FLA 3 at NSH 4 J. Smithson