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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 12:50 PM

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

Projected lineups for Devils, Panthers

Here are how the lines could look when the New Jersey Devils face the Florida Panthers tonight at the BankAtlantic Center:

DEVILS

Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Rod Pelley - David Clarkson
Brad Mills - Ryan Carter - Cam Janssen

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
Henrik Tallinder - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

PANTHERS

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim - Tomas Kopecky - Evgenii Dadonov
Marco Sturm - Mike Santorelli - Jack Skille
Shawn Matthias - Tim Kennedy - Michal Repik

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Keaton Ellerby

Jose Theodore
Jacob Markstrom
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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 12:48 PM

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

Samuelsson moving closer to Panthers' debut

FLORIDA -- While Sidney Crosby will make his long-awaited season debut Monday night, Panthers forward Mikael Samuelsson is still waiting to make his debut with his new team.

At least Samuelsson is getting close.

The veteran, who won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008, has been on injured reserve with a lower-body injury since he was acquired in the Oct. 22 trade that sent David Booth to Vancouver.

But the hope is that Samuelsson could make his Panthers debut before the end of the month.

Samuelsson appeared in six games for Vancouver early in the season before he had a setback related to the sports hernia surgery he underwent in May.

"We're taking it really slow," Samuelsson said. "Obviously I've never done that before. I think I need that time. We're getting there. Give me one more week or something like that. I'll let the guys in there decide, the trainers."

The other veteran acquired in the Booth trade, forward Marco Sturm, has 1 goal and 1 assist in 12 games with Florida.

After finishing with 50 points in 75 games for Vancouver last season, Samuelsson has 1 goal and 2 assists this season. He's looking forward to the opportunity of adding to that total.

"As long as I'm healthy when I get back, I'm good about it," Samuelsson said. "But I'm anxious to get going."
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 12:46 PM

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

Projected lineups for Penguins, Panthers

Here are the projected lineups for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers for their contest tonight in Sunrise, Fla.:

PITTSBURGH        

James Neal - Evgeni Malkin - Steve Sullivan
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham - Richard Park - Craig Adams

Paul Martin - Deryk Engelland
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen - Alexandre Picard

Brent Johnson
Marc-André Fleury

FLORIDA

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Marco Sturm - Mike Santorelli - Evgeny Dadonov
Sean Bergenheim - Tomas Kopecky - Jack Skille
Shawn Matthias - Tim Kennedy - Michal Repik

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Keaton Ellerby

Jose Théodore
Jacob Markstrom
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 12:41 PM

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

Top prospect Markstrom back with Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. — Goalie prospect Jacob Markstrom will be back up with the Florida Panthers on Saturday night  while the team gives veteran Scott Clemmensen at least a couple of days off.

Coach Kevin Dineen said the move isn’t related to the knee surgery Clemmensen underwent before the start of the regular season. Dineen instead used the term “soreness.”

Markstrom will join the Panthers sometime in the afternoon after playing in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday night. Markstrom, who will back up Jose Theodore against the Pittsburgh Penguins, stopped 28 of
32 shots in San Antonio’s 5-4 overtime victory.

Clemmensen was held out of the Panthers’ morning skate Saturday and a local amateur goalie filled in.

“It’s just a chance for us to keep making sure that I’ve got guys feeling 100 percent,” Dineen said. “If it was later in the season, our decision-making would be different than it is. I was going to go back with Theo tonight and felt that the extra day or two off the ice would benefit [Clemmensen] more than having him out there practicing today and backing up tonight.”

Clemmensen made his only start of the season Tuesday at Dallas when he stopped 25 shots in a 6-0 victory. Dineen said Clemmensen’s absence is “short term,” but didn’t dismiss the possibility of Markstrom getting a start.

After the game Saturday against Penguins, the Panthers have three more home games during the next week — Monday against New Jersey, Wednesday against the New York Rangers and Friday against Tampa Bay.

“I’ve been pretty vague about my goaltenders,” Dineen said. “I like keeping my options open. We’ll see where we’re at on Monday and we’ll just play it from there.”

The Panthers likely will be without forwards Marcel Goc (upper body) and Matt Bradley (upper body) against the Penguins.

To help up front, the Panthers on Friday recalled Michal Repik from San Antonio. He was the third forward called up in the past week, joining Evgenii Dadonov and Tim Kennedy.
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Posted On Friday, 11.18.2011 / 1:30 PM

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

Extra work on knee to sideline Pens' Jeffrey

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Penguins forward Dustin Jeffrey will be out 10-15 days as he continues to rehabilitate a knee injury.

Jeffrey had surgery to repair torn ligaments in the knee in March and missed training camp and the first eight games of the season because of the injury. Coach Dan Bylsma said Jeffrey still needs to further strengthen his knee.

The 23-year-old Jeffrey does not have a point in six games this season. He was recalled from a conditioning assignment with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL on Tuesday.

"There's no aggravation or setback, just strength and the wear and tear and then loading it up with games," Bylsma said. "There just needs to be more rehabbing done to the knee to withstand and to be at the level he needs to skate at."
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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 7:28 PM

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

Panthers get Bergenheim back in lineup

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers will get 2011 playoff sensation Sean Bergenheim back in the lineup when they face the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at the BankAtlantic Center.

Bergenheim, who signed as a free agent with Florida after scoring 9 goals in 16 playoff games for Tampa Bay last spring, missed the last seven games because of a lower-body injury.

Bergenheim has 1 goal in four games, but was part of Florida's penalty-killing unit.

"He can eat up a lot of minutes and he's a big body," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "He's very responsible and he's one of those players that coaches certainly trust. Where he left off at the end of last season being a dominant player in the playoffs for Tampa Bay, he's picked that up here and he has been missed in our lineup. So we're looking forward to getting him back."

Dineen was non-commital at the morning skate about who would start in goal, but opted to use rookie Jacob Markstron. Veteran Jose Theodore played the last two games -- a 3-2 victory at Buffalo and a 4-3 shootout loss at home to Winnipeg -- after Markstrom had made two starts.

Corey Crawford will be in net for Chicago, which will be missing defenseman Duncan Keith, who is nursing a hand injury. Veteran Sean O'Donnell is expected to take Keith's place in the lineup.

Coach Joel Quenneville said it was too early to determine whether Keith would be back in action Friday night when the Hawks play at Tampa Bay.

Forward Daniel Carcillo will be back in the lineup against Florida after serving a two-game suspension for a hit on Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 1:05 PM

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

Projected lineups for Blackhawks, Panthers

Here's how the lineups could look when the Florida Panthers play host to the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at the BankAtlantic Center:

BLACKHAWKS


Viktor Stalberg - Jonathan Toews - Andrew Brunette
Patrick Sharp - Patrick Kane - Marian Hossa
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik
Daniel Carcillo - Marcus Kruger - Jamal Mayers

Nick Leddy - Sean O'Donnell
Niklas Hjalmarsson - Brent Seabrook
Sami Lepisto - Steve Montador

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery

PANTHERS

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Marco Sturm - Marcel Goc - Jack Skille
Scottie Upshall - Mike Santorelli - Tomas Kopecky
Sean Bergenheim - Shawn Matthias - Matt Bradley

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson

Jose Theodore
Jacob Markstrom
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Posted On Monday, 10.31.2011 / 12:40 PM

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

Projected lineups for Jets, Panthers

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers face off in a Southeast Division battle at the BankAtlantic Center:

JETS
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Kyle Wellwood
Evander Kane - Nik Antropov - Alexander Burmistrov
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Kenndal McArdle - Tim Stapleton - Blake Wheeler

Mark Stuart - Zach Bogosian
Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien
Johnny Oduya - Randy Jones

Ondrej Pavelec
Peter Mannino

Jets coach Claude Noel said he's hoping D Ron Hainsey (upper body) will be cleared to practice by the end of the week and could return to the lineup before the end of Winnipeg's seven-game road trip. Noel said goalie Chris Mason (groin), who was injured in the third period of Thursday's 9-8 victory at Philadelphia, is day-to-day,

PANTHERS
Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Scottie Upshall - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky
Marco Sturm - Mike Santorelli - Jack Skille
Shawn Matthias - Tim Kennedy - Matt Bradley

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson

Jose Theodore
Jacob Markstrom

Forward Sean Bergenheim (lower body) and goaltender Scott Clemmensen (knee) both took part in the morning skate, but coach Kevin Dineen said neither will be in uniform tonight and they're not likely to play against Chicago on Thursday, either.
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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 1:20 PM

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

Gudbranson hopes to stick in South Florida

SUNRISE, Fla. — Erik Gudbranson will be playing his third game at the BankAtlantic Center Saturday night when the Florida Panthers take on the New York Islanders. The third pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft is hoping it won't be his last this season.

The Panthers will have to decide after their ninth game whether to return Gudbranson to his Ontario Hockey League team in Kingston or keep him in the NHL, which would move him a year closer toward free agency.

Tonight will be Florida's seventh game, and its next two will be the road — Monday at Montreal and Thursday at Ottawa, which happens to be Gudbranson's hometown.

"I think you just go back to keeping it simple and looking at it as a team game," Gudbranson said after Saturday's morning skate. "For the next three games, this is my team and hopefully I get the 10th game in. That's obviously in the back of my mind, but never when I'm playing and never when I'm with the guys."

In his first six NHL games, Gudbranson has yet to record a point. He's averaging 12:39 of ice time and is tied for the worst plus-minus ratio among Panthers defensemen with Brian Campbell at minus-4.

Gudbranson has had 24 penalty minutes, which includes fights against Steve Downie and Ryan Malone in games against Tampa Bay Saturday and Monday, respectively.

Along with the physical aspect, Gudbranson has shown crisp passing from the back end as well as an impressive slap shot.

"I like his game, I like what he's brought," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "He still shows his youth at times. I think that doesn't surprise anybody that he can go out there and just bring so much enthusiasm that sometimes that youth gets him in positions he doesn't want to be in. But the overall picture is he's off to a good start to his NHL career."

After failing to reach agreement on an entry-level contract last summer, Gudbranson spent all of the 2010-11 season in the OHL. If he does go back to Kingston, Gudbranson again will get to play with his younger brother Alex, who is also a defenseman.

The Frontenacs sure could use Erik Gudbranson, considering a 4-0 loss to Brampton Friday night dropped them to 1-11 on the season.

But Gudbranson clearly wants to stay in the NHL, and he feels he belongs there.

"In my mind, I do, and that's not only just for the 10th-game mark," Gudbranson said. "You have to think that when you're playing on the ice. You have to believe that you're in the right place and that you're making a difference on the ice.

"I've been happy (with my performance). I've been trying to get better every single game. I think that's the biggest thing, working on your gaps, on your stick, really adjusting to the speed. I'm trying to pick up as much as I can, game in, game out, and be a better player the next day."
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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 12:45 PM

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

Rolston out for Islanders, projected lineups

SUNRISE, Fla. — Veteran forward Brian Rolston will miss the Islanders' game at Florida Saturday night after he flew home to be with his wife as she prepared to give birth.

Rolston, an alternate captain in his first season with the Isles, had no goals and two assists in the team's first five games.

In Rolston's place, Matt Martin is expected to skate on the third line with Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau, who will be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last two games.

The Panthers, meanwhile, are likely to have veteran defenseman Ed Jovanovski back in the lineup after he missed Thursday night's game against Buffalo because of a hip injury.

Jovanovski took part in the morning skate, as did wing Shawn Matthias, who missed the Buffalo game because of flu symptoms. Matthias should be in the lineup Saturday night.

Forward Sean Bergenheim, however, will miss his third consecutive game because of a lower-body injury. Coach Kevin Dineen said it was even possible Bergenheim could be left behind when the Panthers go on a three-game trip that begins at Montreal on Monday.

Projected lineups

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John TavaresPA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Blake Comeau - Josh Bailey - Matt Martin
Trevor Gillies-Marty Reasoner-Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Mike Mottau

Evgeni Nabokov
Al Montoya

FLORIDA PANTHERS

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
David Booth - Tomas Kopecky - Tim Kennedy
Scottie Upshall - Marcel Goc - Jack Skille
Shawn Matthias - Ryan Carter - Matt Bradley

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson

Jose Theodore
Jacob Markstrom
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Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff