WINNIPEG -- The Florida Panthers look to tighten their grip on the Southeast Division lead further tonight when they visit the Winnipeg Jets.
Visiting teams have experienced difficulty in Winnipeg this season, but the Panthers (30-20-12) have found success in Manitoba this season. Along with the New York Islanders, the Panthers are the only team that has come into the MTS Centre and taken two wins this season. The Panthers also have assembled a 5-1-1 mark over seven games in Canada this season.
A regulation win tonight for the Panthers, who have won three straight games, would extend Florida's divisional lead on the Jets to six points and five points on the Washington Capitals. A win would also tie the club's franchise record of five consecutive on the road, set during the 2008-09 season. The 17 points that the Panthers accumulated in February matched a franchise record for the month.
However, the Panthers will be without Kris Versteeg (lower-body injury), who has lit up the Jets for 5 goals in two games on Winnipeg ice this season.
Jose Theodore is expected to start in net.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Panthers:
Sean Bergenheim - Stephen Weiss - Mikael Samuelsson
Tomas Fleischmann - Tomas Kopecky - Wojtek Wolski
Shawn Matthias - Mike Santorelli - Jack Skille
Krystofer Barch - John Madden - Jerred Smithson
Brian Campbell - Jason Garrison
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson
Keaton Ellerby - Mike Weaver