CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. --
The Florida Panthers
could be without veteran forward Marco Sturm
when they begin their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New Jersey Devils
on Friday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).
For the second time in two practices this week, Sturm was missing when the Panthers took the ice at the Saveology.com Iceplex on Wednesday.
Sturm also sat out the third period of Saturday's 4-1 division-clinching victory against Carolina in the regular season finale, and coach Kevin Dineen
said Sturm is dealing with lower-body soreness.
"He'll be questionable," Dineen said. "He's a little bit sore from [last] weekend, so we're not sure if he'll be all right this weekend."
While Sturm missed his second consecutive practice, rookie defenseman Erik Gudbranson
was back on the ice after being kept out Monday for what Dineen described as a "maintenance day."
Sturm, who had three goals and two assists in 42 games for Florida this season after being acquired from Vancouver in the David Booth
trade in October, played the last few games on a line with John Madden
and Tomas Kopecky
His place on that line at Wednesday's practice was taken by Krys Barch.
Dineen also was asked Wednesday about his goalie situation and he said "probably right around game time" is when he would decide whether to go with Jose Theodore
or Scott Clemmensen
against the Devils.
"I have complete trust and confidence in our guys," Dineen said. "I've watched their body of work throughout the year and I have a very comfortable feeling that whatever decision we go, if I start Scott Clemmensen
, I've made the right call; if I decide to go with Jose Theodore
, I think I've made the right call. That's a good place for a coach to be."