SUNRISE, Fla. - Florida Panthers right wing Kris Versteeg will be back in the lineup Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets after missing 12 games because of an upper-body injury.
Versteeg's return comes at a good time considering the success he's had against Winnipeg. Versteeg has eight goals against the Jets during the past two seasons, including his only tally this season.
With Versteeg in the lineup, Jerred Smithson will join Alex Kovalev as a healthy scratch for the Panthers.
Jacob Markstrom, who was pulled after allowing goals on the first two shots he faced in Thursday's 7-1 loss against the Washington Capitals, will be back in net for the Panthers.
He'll go against Ondrej Pavelec, who will be making his 11th start in 12 games for the Jets. After starting 10 consecutive games, Pavelec got the night off Thursday when Al Montoya stopped 28 of 29 shots in a 2-1 victory at Tampa Bay.
Pavelec and Markstrom faced each other Tuesday night when the Panthers beat the Jets 4-1 at the BB&T Center.
It's a tribute to him, and everything he's done and deserved is coming to fruition tonight with his jersey in the rafters. He's going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. And I said today, if he's not, take my stuff out. If he doesn't deserve to be in there first ballot, no one does. Except for (Wayne) Gretzky, I guess.
— Hockey Hall of Fame member Brett Hull on former teammate Mike Modano, whose No. 9 was retired by the Dallas Stars on Saturday