There were two plays involving Anton Babchuk in the Canes' first preseason game that stick out, that probably were the most noticeable.
One was Babchuk's goal, the Canes' only score Tuesday in the 4-1 loss to Florida. With Carolina on the penalty kill early in the second period, the defenseman sped up the ice on a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush with Patrick O'Sullivan, took a pass from O'Sullivan and buried the shot.
Babchuk, who played in Russia last season, had 16 goals two years ago in his last season with the Canes, so he knows how to score. But shorthanded? That was something new.
"It was good," Babchuk said of being back in the RBC Center and contributing. "Last season for me was over early, in Russia in late March. It's nice to get back in the game.
"It took a little bit of time, like the first period to get back in the game and figure out what's going on and where you have to go and stuff like that. The second and third was much better."
The second play came during the Panthers' three-goal outburst in the first period. Florida's Mike Santorelli wheeled around Babchuk in the Canes zone and fired a shot past Cam Ward to make it 2-0.
Canes coach Paul Maurice wasn't concerned about the defensive lapse.
"His skating has improved," Maurice said. "I know he got crossed up on the one (play) but his skating has improved drastically."
The big shot -- Babchuk said it has been timed at 103 mph -- is still there.
"Every time he tees that thing up I have a big smile on my face because I'm not standing in front of it," Maurice joked. "There's a lot of good things to this guy's game. I know he had that mistake on the ice. He's had a great camp."