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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
2nd
NOR 0
DUR 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
CAR
Final
CIN 7
CHC 2
Final
DET 3
NYY 2
Final
SFG 4
COL 1
1st
BAL 0
TAM 2
 
1st
NYM 0
ATL 0
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
CLE
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
MIN
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
TEX
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
2nd
SCAR 14
TEXAM 17
 
1st
LAMON 0
WAKE 7
 
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
BSU
8:00pm Tonight
TULSA
TULA
9:15pm Tonight
VANDY
TEMPL
10:00pm Tonight
WASU
RUTG
10:30pm Tonight
ARST
WEBER
2nd
JAC 7
ATL 21
 
1st
BUF 0
DET 0
 
1st
CIN 0
IND 0
 
1st
GBP 0
KAN 0
 
1st
PHI 0
NYJ 0
 
1st
MIA 0
STL 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
CAR
7:30pm Tonight
NYG
NEP
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
WAS
8:00pm Tonight
NOS
BAL
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
DAL
DEN
8:00pm Tonight
TEN
MIN
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
SFX
10:00pm Tonight
SDC
ARI
10:00pm Tonight
OAK
SEA
2nd
NOR 0
DUR 0