Center Henrik Zetterberg will be in action for the first time since Dec. 1 after missing 11 games because of a back injury.
"I'm glad to be back playing," Zetterberg said. "It's been a while. Just to come back and play with the boys, it's going to be fun."
The Red Wings also are expected to have forward Justin Abdelkader back after he missed five games because of a concussion.
Center Pavel Datsyuk returned after missing seven games when the Red Wings faced the Panthers 18 days ago and had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 shootout loss.
Despite a long absence, Zetterberg leads the Red Wings in scoring with 30 points in 28 games.
"Obviously it's great to have him back; now we've got to get him playing," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Being back and playing is a totally different thing. It takes time. If you're Z, you've been out 11 games, so we've got to keep his shifts short."
Even with Zetterberg and Abdelkader back, the Red Wings still have a long injury list. The latest addition is defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who was placed on injured reserve Friday with a rib injury sustained in a 3-0 loss against the New York Islanders on Monday.
"It's going to be nice when everyone is healthy," Zetterberg said. "We've basically had one game this year with our starting lineup. But you'd rather have it before Christmas than after Christmas."
Thomas is expected to start Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens in the second half of a back-to-back.
"It's just an extra day, extra time to make sure," Panthers interim coach Peter Horachek said. "He could play, but we're just giving him the extra day to make sure that everything is good.
"You've just got to look in the long term rather than the short term and you just continue to do what you think is right for down the road. Giving him the extra time will be beneficial to him."
Horachek said he expected Upshall and defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who underwent orbital bone surgery Monday, to be out of the lineup a few weeks.
With Upshall out, the Panthers recalled forward Drew Shore from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League.
Shore appeared in two games for the Panthers this season before being sent down to the AHL. He had 13 points in 43 games for Florida last season.
"He's spent some time up here last year and did a pretty good job," Horachek said. "He bypassed the minors, which is what you really need to do if you're really going to develop properly and learn how to be a good pro and learn how to do things the right way. He's gone back down and spent some time, so I think he's more ready now than he was last year."
Here are the projected lineups:
Babcock said he split up the defensive pairing of Smith and Quincey because of their recent struggles.
Gomez will be a healthy scratch for the 11th time in 12 games.