Driedger posts shutout in 1st NHL start, Panthers beat Preds


Florida Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger, right, defends the goal as defenseman Mike Matheson, left, and Nashville Predators center Craig Smith (15) fight for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Chris Driedger posted a shutout in his first career start, Anton Stralman scored his first two goals of the season and the Florida Panthers beat the Nashville Predators 3-0 Saturday night.

Driedger stopped 27 shots in his first appearance with Florida. The 25-year-old appeared in three games for Ottawa between 2014-17 but had never started in the NHL. He was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Monday after posting an AHL-best .938 save percentage in 14 games.

Aleksander Barkov added his eighth goal as the Panthers won for the first time in four games. It was the Predators’ first loss in regulation in the past five games.

Juuse Saros stopped 24 shots for Nashville.

Stralman scored early in the second period, and the 1-0 lead held until he scored again 8:38 into the third. Stralman, a veteran defenseman with just 49 goals in 775 career games, hadn’t scored since last December.

Less than two minutes later, Barkov went top shelf to Saros’ glove side to make it 3-0.

Driedger, filling in for struggling starter Sergei Bobrovsky, was especially impressive against high-quality chances during three Nashville power plays in the second period.

NOTES: Panthers D MacKenzie Weegar returned after an upper-body injury sidelined him for the past eight games. … Florida won the first meeting between the teams in October, 3-2 in a shootout.


Predators: Host Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.

Panthers: Host Minnesota on Tuesday night.

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