SUNRISE — Chris Driedger heard the final horn and reached for his helmet in disbelief. The Florida Panthers goalie hardly expected to post a shutout in his first NHL start.
“Honestly, I’m speechless,” he said.
Driedger stopped all 27 shots filling in for star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, and the Panthers beat the Nashville Predators 3-0 Saturday night. It was the 25-year-old’s first appearance for Florida — he had previously appeared in three games for Ottawa between 2014-17 but never started.
Bobrovsky was among the first teammates to congratulate Driedger.
“It was pretty cool coming from a guy like that,” Driedger said. “Props from him, it’s pretty special.”
Anton Stralman scored his first two goals of the season as the Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak.
Driedger was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Monday after posting an AHL-best .938 save percentage in 14 games.
“It’s pretty surreal,” he said. “I’m cloud-nining right now.”
Aleksander Barkov’s eighth goal for the Panthers also provided a milestone for Evgenii Dadonov, who recorded his 100th career assist.
Juuse Saros stopped 24 shots for Nashville, which suffered its first loss in regulation in the past five games.