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Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press
Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (49) attempts a shot at Florida Panthers goalie Brian Foster (33) during the third period of the first of two preseason NHL hockey games, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 in Sunrise, Fla. The Predators defeated the Panthers 5-3.

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers are playing one-third of their preseason in the span of seven hours.

Of their six games before the puck drops for real, two are taking place Monday on home ice. A doubleheader tied into what they called a "Hockey Day in South Florida" promotion started with a 5-3 loss to the Nashville Predators.

About 500 fans were in the seats when the game started. A larger crowd was expected for the nightcap. The Panthers and Predators are using different players in both games.

A hockey doubleheader may be rare, but the split-squad notion is catching on. Calgary and Vancouver will send teams to play in each other's cities Tuesday, as will Winnipeg and Columbus. Edmonton is splitting its roster Tuesday for games against Chicago and Minnesota.