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Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 1:27 PM

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

Markstrom goes against former coach DeBoer

SUNRISE, Fla. — Things have come full circle for Florida Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

The talented Swede made his NHL debut in a relief appearance against the New Jersey Devils Jan. 23, 2011. His coach at the time was Pete DeBoer.

Now Markstrom is set to face his former coach when the Panthers play host to the New Jersey Devils Saturday night at BB&T Center.

Markstrom’s appearance in the 2011 game, when he replaced Scott Clemmensen after the first period of a 5-2 loss, was his only NHL action that season. After bouncing back and forth between Florida and San Antonio of the American Hockey League the past two seasons, Markstrom has become the Panthers’ starting goalie.

He’ll make his sixth start in the past seven games and had allowed only six goals in four starts before four deflections got by him in Thursday’s 5-4 shootout victory against the Buffalo Sabres.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.28.2013 / 12:32 PM

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

Vanek out, Brennan set to face former team

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Buffalo Sabres managed three goals and 32 shots in their past two games combined, and now they'll have to face the Florida Panthers on Thursday night without their leading scorer.

Coach Ron Rolston said after the morning skate Thursday that wing Thomas Vanek would miss the game because of an upper-body injury he sustained in Tuesday's 2-1 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

While Vanek will sit, struggling forward Drew Stafford will be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.16.2013 / 1:07 PM

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

Panthers captain Jovanovski back against Islanders

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski is expected back in the lineup for the first time since January when they face the New York Islanders on Saturday night at BB&T Center.

The Panthers captain has missed the past 22 games since sustaining a lower-body injury in a 5-2 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 29.

Jovanovski took part in the morning skate for Thursday's game against the Boston Bruins and again Saturday morning.

"Jovo looks like he's a go there for tonight," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "That's a heck of an addition to have our captain back in the lineup. He's been sorely missed and he'll be a great addition to have back.

"He makes a big difference with our group. Obviously, I took my time deciding which direction I was going to go captain-wise, but at the end of it Jovo just kept sticking out. And as much as his leadership ability was his on-ice play. It was a mixture of both of those last year. We're looking forward to having both his leadership and his play back on the ice."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:14 PM

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

Lightning add Gudas for extra physicality on defense

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Defenseman Radko Gudas, called up by the Tampa Bay Lightning from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Monday, will make his NHL debut Tuesday when the Lightning visit the Florida Panthers.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher said he was hoping Gudas would bring a physical presence to the Tampa Bay lineup -- he's fourth in the AHL with 207 penalty minutes, along with leading the league with a plus-32 rating.

"He's got a major upside in terms of his physicality," Boucher said. "He's one of those guys that will be compared to [former New York Islanders defenseman Darius] Kasparaitis, if you remember him. He's a major menace and threat on the ice. He hits guys extremely hard at moments they don't expect. He's a warrior. What's good, too, is that the last two years he's made his game a little calmer in the sense that he chooses those moments now a lot better than he used to."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:09 PM

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

Lindback, Markstrom take long-time friendship to NHL

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Anders Lindback and Jacob Markstrom grew up as buddies in the small town of Gavle, Sweden, and Tuesday the two goalies will face each other in the NHL for the first time when the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center.

Markstrom was the first goalie off the ice when the Panthers had their morning skate, and Lightning coach Guy Boucher confirmed Lindback would be his goalie after he sat out a 4-3 loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 3:50 PM

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

Prust out 10 days with minor shoulder separation

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Montreal Canadiens will be without wing Brandon Prust when they face the Florida Panthers on Sunday at BB&T Center.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Sunday that Prust would be out approximately 10 days after sustaining a mild shoulder separation in Saturday's 4-3 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In his first season with the Canadiens, the 28-year-old Prust has proven extremely valuable with four goals, nine points and an NHL-leading 81 penalty minutes in 25 games.


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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 7:16 PM

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

Versteeg back in Panthers lineup

Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg, who hasn't played since a Feb. 12 game against the Washington Capitals, returned to the lineup Friday for a home game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Versteeg's return was confirmed by the team's Twitter page. The team's third-leading scorer last season missed the past 12 games with an upper-body injury, which he is believed to have sustained while being hit from behind by Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 6:50 PM

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

Byfuglien will play for Jets vs. Florida

SUNRISE, Fla. Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien made it to the BB&T Center in time for Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Panthers.

Byfuglien flew home Monday to attend to a personal matter, and Jets coach Claude Noel said after Tuesday’s morning skate that the defenseman was scheduled to land in Fort Lauderdale shortly after 5 p.m. ET.

Byfuglien leads the Jets in average ice time at 24:43. He has three goals and 10 points in 16 games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 1:08 PM

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

Kovalev done with Panthers, future to be determined

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Veteran forward Alex Kovalev's status remains unknown.

Kovalev still is property of the Florida Panthers, but he no longer figures in the team's plans, and general manager Dale Tallon said Tuesday that Kovalev was "still weighing his options."

"It was just a mutual agreement that we wanted to go in a different direction, that's all," Tallon said.

Tallon said he was hoping for a resolution sometime this week. Kovalev, who was out of the NHL last season, could agree to be sent down to the American Hockey League, accept a buyout or retire.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 12:58 PM

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

Another NHL debut, as Panthers recall Rheault

SUNRISE, Fla. -- As the result of the Florida Panthers' rash of injuries, Tuesday's game against the Winnipeg Jets will mark the NHL debut for a fifth player this season.

This time it will be forward Jonathan Rheault, who was recalled from San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Tuesday after news broke that center Stephen Weiss would undergo season-ending wrist surgery.

Rookie Jonathan Huberdeau, who leads the team with 10 goals, and defenseman Michael Caruso made their NHL debuts opening night. Center Drew Shore has stayed with the Panthers after being called up from San Antonio early in the season, and prospect Quinton Howden was sent back to San Antonio after making his NHL debut Jan. 26 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Quote of the Day

Unless he really collapses, I don't see him going anywhere. I've been very impressed with his composure and maturity. Once the regular season started, he was a different guy; it was like game on and almost as if he's been around for a long time.

— Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon on rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad
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