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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 2:00 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Panthers get immediate opportunity for payback

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers start an important four-game homestand Tuesday night and get an opportunity to avenge an embarrassing loss in their previous game.

The Panthers get another shot at the Washington Capitals, who shut them out 5-0 Saturday night at Verizon Center.

"For us, having come off a loss to them, a tough loss where it was a pretty lopsided score, that doesn't sit well with us," said Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen, who is expected to get the start Tuesday. "We're looking forward to getting another crack at them."

The game brought a disappointing end to what otherwise was a productive four-game road trip for the Panthers. Before the loss at Washington, Florida had gone 2-0-1, with victories at the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers and an overtime loss at the Winnipeg Jets.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 12:43 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Upper-body injury sidelines Capitals' Johansson

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson did not make the trip along with his teammates and will sit out Tuesday night's game against the Florida Panthers.

Johansson sustained an upper-body injury Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins and sat out Saturday's 5-0 victory against the Panthers at the Verizon Center.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 11:02 AM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kovalev likely to return for Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers forward Alex Kovalev likely will be back in the lineup Tuesday against the Washington Capitals after being a healthy scratch the previous two games.

Kovalev, who turns 40 later this month, worked on a line with Tomas Kopecky and Marcel Goc during the morning skate.

Kovalev, who was signed after being invited to camp on a tryout basis, had been benched in favor of Jack Skille for Thursday's 3-2 shootout victory at the Philadelphia Flyers and Saturday's 5-0 loss at Washington.

Skille scored Florida's first goal in the victory against the Flyers. He'll stay in the lineup, with Jerred Smithson relegated to the press box.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 7:35 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets scratch Byfuglien vs. Panthers

Dustin Byfuglien
Defense - WPG
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 7
SOG: 25 | +/-: 0
SUNRISE, Fla. - Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was scratched from the lineup for Thursday night's game against the Florida Panthers.

After Byfuglien did not take part in the morning skate, coach Claude Noel said a determination on Byfuglien's status would be made later, but the defenseman did not take part in pregame warmups.

"He aggravated something previous to the morning skate," Noel said.

Byfuglien played a team-high 28:26 of ice time in the Jets' 4-3 loss at Montreal on Tuesday. The Jets did not practice on Wednesday.

Byfuglien is tied for the team scoring lead with Evander Kane and

Tobias Enstrom with seven points.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 1:58 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Panthers want Gudbranson to finish rehab in AHL

SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson will start his season in the American Hockey League and how well he plays will determine how long he'll be away from the NHL.

Gudbranson, the third pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, has been sidelined with a shoulder injury which occurred during the summer while wakeboarding, and the Panthers sent him to the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday.

Gudbranson is scheduled to make his AHL debut Friday night when San Antonio plays host to the Rockford IceHogs.

After spending the 2010-11 season in the Ontario Hockey League, Gudbranson went straight to the NHL, where he played in 72 games for the Panthers last season.

Florida coach Kevin Dineen said there was no set number of games he wanted Gudbranson to play in the AHL.

"It depends on what we think of him," Dineen said. "We'll see where he's at. We'll watch the game tomorrow night and see how he's doing and go from there. He's got to go down and establish his play, and play."

Gudbranson was one of two Panthers players loaned to San Antonio, the other being forward Mike Santorelli.

After clearing waivers before the start of the regular season, Santorelli opened the season playing on the first line but was dropped to the third line after the game and was a healthy scratch three of the past four contests.

Santorelli didn't have a point in three games this season. He had 20 goals in 82 games in 2010-11, but had nine goals and two assists in 60 games last season.

"I've always been a believer that Santo is a top-six player," Dineen said. "That's his skill set, as a higher-end skilled forward. Unfortunately, we don't have that fit for him right now. He's got to either diversify his game or get a major dose of confidence. I feel that some time in the American League is going to give him that jolt and that quality ice time that he'll need to get things turned around.

"That book is not closed yet, but he's got to go down there and expand his game and as much so get his confidence back."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 1:36 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Jets, Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. — Here are the projected lines for the game Thursday between the Florida Panthers and the Winnipeg Jets at BB&T Center.

JETS

Evander Kane - Olli Jokinen - Blake Wheeler

Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Bryan Little

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Alexander Burmistrov - Kyle Wellwood

James Wright - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn

Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Ron Hainsey - Zach Redmond

Grant Clitsome - Mark Stuart

Ondrej Pavelec

Al Montoya

Injured: Zach Bogosian, Antti Miettinen

Scratches: Paul Postma, Anthony Peluso, Mark Scheifele

NOTES: Forward James Wright will face the Panthers for the first time since being claimed by the Jets after he was waived by Florida before the start of the season.

PANTHERS

Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Kris Versteeg

Jonathan Huberdeau - Drew Shore - Peter Mueller

Alex Kovalev - Shawn Matthias - Tomas Kopecky

Jack Skille - Jerred Smithson - George Parros

Filip Kuba - Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Keaton Ellerby - Tyson Strachan

Jose Theodore

Scott Clemmensen

Injured: Stephen Weiss, Ed Jovanovski, Sean Bergenheim

Scratches: Scottie Upshall

NOTES: Defenseman Tyson Strachan is set to make his first appearance since the Jan. 19 season opener against the Carolina Hurricanes as he replaces the injured Ed Jovanovski.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 1:28 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Byfuglien's availability Thursday uncertain for Jets

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Winnipeg Jets could be without defenseman Dustin Byfuglien on Thursday night when they face the Florida Panthers.

Byfuglien did not take part in the morning skate, and coach Claude Noel said a determination on Byfuglien's status would be made later.

"He aggravated something previous to the morning skate," Noel said, "so we're going to see with him and make a game-time decision on whether he'll be in or not."

Byuglien got a team-high 28:26 of ice time in the Jets' 4-3 loss at Montreal on Tuesday. The Jets did not practice on Wednesday.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jovanovski joins Weiss on sidelines for Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers again will be without center Stephen Weiss on Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets, and he'll be joined on the sidelines by captain Ed Jovanovski.

The veteran defenseman sustained a knee injury in Tuesday night's 5-2 loss at Tampa Bay.

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said Jovanovski wouldn't play at Buffalo on Sunday, either. If there's any good news regarding Jovanovski, it's that an exam Wednesday revealed no structural damage.

"It's going to take a few days here, but the guy's heart is pretty big," Dineen said. "It's hard to put a number on how many days he'll be out."

As for Weiss, he continues to be sidelined by a groin injury and will miss his fourth consecutive game.

Dineen said the issue isn't conditioning, but rather making sure that Weiss isn't rushed back into action before he's ready.

"If it was conditioning, Weisser would be right into the thick of things for us, but I want to make sure a player as important as he is to our lineup is with us the next 40 games instead of for a short-term snapshot," Dineen said. "If Stephen Weiss was making the decision, it probably would be a different look to our lineup tonight. He's an important guy and we want to make sure that he's healthy."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 1:18 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Panthers get Goc back in lineup against Jets

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Center Marcel Goc will make his season debut for the Florida Panthers Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets.

Goc missed the first six games because of a lower-body injury sustained while he played in Germany during the lockout.

Goc is expected to center the top line between Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg.

"No injury comes at a good time, and this one came just a few days before the lockout was over," Goc said. "It was really bad timing, but you can't predict that. Things happen. I had to do my rehab work and I put the time in, and now I'm back, I'm excited and I hope I can help the team."

The Panthers are off to a disappointing 1-5 start, and have missed Goc's versatility.

"He's not a kind of player that you notice a heck of a lot during the course of the game, but boy, we use him in a lot of different situations," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "He kind of gives us one more bullet in the chamber to throw out in many different situations.

"In any sport there's a level of trust that gets into coaching when you're looking for that player that's going to make a difference, whether it's a faceoff or making a responsible play or can go out and give you a quality play on offense. Marcel is pretty diversified. He can do a lot of things."

While the injury was disappointing, Goc said he enjoyed playing in Germany because it gave him the opportunity to play on the same Manheim team as his younger brother Nikolai.

The big highlight, though, was a game against Hanover, which featured Goc's older brother Sasha.

"That was fun," Goc said. "The one game I played with my younger brother against my older brother, that was pretty cool. That was fun to play in that game."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 12:55 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets defenseman Redmond prepared for NHL debut

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Redmond likely will be making his NHL debut Thursday night against the Florida Panthers.

While Jets coach Claude Noel wouldn't confirm that Redmond would be in the lineup, Redmond said he had been told he would play against the Panthers.

"It's a pretty nervous time period," Redmond said. "You're just kind of sitting there wondering, but I've been trying to stay as relaxed as I can. They have their plans for everybody, so I've just been trying to stay patient and just wait for them. I had a feeling this could be the game, and it was, and I can't wait. I'm excited."

Redmond was a healthy scratch for Winnipeg's first six games this season after spending all of 2011-12 with the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League.

Redmond was a seventh-round pick of the then-Atlanta Thrashers in the 2008 NHL Draft after his first season at Ferris State University.

The 24-year-old Redmond, a native of Traverse City, Mich., was hoping to have family and friends in the stands Thursday night, but wasn't sure whether travel plans could be arranged quickly enough.

For his part, Redmond said he was hoping to be able to take a nap Thursday afternoon.

As for his first game, Redmond said he's gotten advice from Jets defenseman Paul Postma, a 2007 draft pick who made his NHL debut in November 2011.

"Everyone just keeps saying, do what got you here, that's kind of the old saying," Redmond said. "I'm sure there's going to be some surprises, as in everyone's first game. But I'm going to learn and go out there and give it my best shot."'

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Quote of the Day

I don’t know if it was more relief for me that [Stamkos] scored or the power play scored. It was a whole compilation of Alka Seltzer.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Steven Stamkos broke a long scoring drought and Tampa Bay's struggling power play scored four times in Game 2 at Montreal