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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, October 5th (All times Eastern)

Florida Panthers (1-0-0) at St. Louis Blues (1-0-0), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Blues hope to have some more early jump in their skates on Saturday night as they continue their season-opening homestand with a matchup against the Florida Panthers.

The Blues exploded out of the gate on Thursday in a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators, scoring three times in the first half of the opening period. David Backes got it started 2:05 into the contest on the power play before Vladimir Sobotka and T.J. Oshie added goals on St. Louis' first six shots of the game.

Nashville did score twice to get within a goal, but Alex Steen provided more cushion with another power-play goal.

"You have to score on the power play if you want to win hockey games," said Alex Pietrangelo, who finished with two assists. "You have to take advantage of that extra guy."

Jaroslav Halak stopped 28-of-30 shots for the victory.

"It was pretty ideal the first 10 minutes," said Backes. "I don't know if we got complacent, but we played pretty well that first 10 and maybe took a step back. They're a team that just keeps coming at you. They found a couple and kind of woke us up again where we had to focus on playing our style of hockey. The result we love."

The Panthers should also be happy with the result of their season opener, a 4-2 road win over the Dallas Stars.

Playing in his first game since April of 2012, Tim Thomas made 25 saves in his Panthers debut. The two-time Vezina winner and one-time Conn Smythe recipient had taken a leave of absence from the league last year.

Thomas is looking to provide a boost to a Panthers club that finished dead last in the league a season ago.

"That was a big difference for us," said Florida head coach Kevin Dineen about Thomas. "He was a guy that stood up and made the saves when he needed to and that's what we're going to need."

Aleksander Barkov, selected with the second overall pick of the 2013 draft, scored in his NHL debut, while Marcel Goc had the game-winner with 4:55 to go before adding an empty-net tally. Scott Gomez also scored.

Florida has road games against Philadelphia and Tampa Bay up next before its home opener on Oct. 11 versus Pittsburgh.

The Blues have won seven of their past 11 against the Panthers, including the last two encounters.

St. Louis is 9-3-0 with a tie all-time versus Florida at home.

10/05 10:30:12 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
CHI 84
MIA 96
Final
CLE 108
OKC 98
Final
NOP 109
DAL 106
Final
ORL 99
IND 106
Final
PHO 100
LAC 120
Final
ATL 112
MIN 100
Final
TOR 114
DET 110
 
Final
SAN 101
MIL 95
Final
GSW 114
BOS 111
Final
DEN 115
WAS 117
4th
LAL 82
HOU 97
 
Final
UCONN 66
SFLA 53
Final
GT 62
BC 64
Final
VT 47
UVA 50
Final
OSU 82
IND 70
Final
UCF 46
CIN 56
Final
WICHS 74
DRAK 40
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
MAR 73
FAIR 67
 
Final
HART 61
MAINE 70
 
Final
MAN 71
MON 64
 
Final
PRIN 96
ROWAN 48
 
Final
SIENA 55
PETE 69
 
Final
RIU 53
BONA 48
Final
BING 54
USB 61
 
Final
MLOWELL 50
VERM 61
 
Final
BUT 77
SHU 57
Final
SALA 55
YALE 72
 
Final
PITT 68
LOU 80
Final
ILLST 53
NIOWA 54
Final
GTDNS 69
UMBC 55
 
Final
IONA 87
NIAG 64
 
Final
TENST 55
BEL 63
 
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
VILL 71
CREI 50
Final
MD 68
NW 67
Final
UTAH 77
WASH 56
Final
TEAMFOLI 12
TEAMTOEWS 17
Final
CARTER 28
IRVIN 32