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At the Rink: Senators at Panthers

by Staff /

The Florida Panthers finish up a three-game home stand Friday against the Ottawa Senators, but will have to do so without starting goalie Roberto Luongo.

After stopping all 11 shots he faced in a 1-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, Luongo exited the game in the second period with an upper-body injury. Al Montoya preserved the shutout by recording 22 saves of his own.

Montoya will start against the Senators. Luongo did not skate Friday, and the Panthers recalled goaltender Dan Ellis from the American Hockey League to serve as the backup.

A young Florida team is still in the thick of the Stanley Cup Playoff race at the first quarter mark, sitting three points behind the second wild-card team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, with two games in hand. For general manager Dale Tallon, the Panthers current position is one he's pleased with.

"If you told me we'd be where we are after 20 games with all the new and young players, I'd be satisfied with that," he said to the Miami Herald on Friday. "Now it's time for us to keep getting better."

Senators forward Milan Michalek returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in the previous game against the St. Louis Blues. Defenseman Chris Phillips also returns after missing the past three games with an undisclosed injury.

"Everybody wants to play and I'm the same," Michalek told the Ottawa Sun on Thursday. "It's frustrating, but I know I haven't been playing good and I wasn't producing.

"If I'm going to play, I'm going to have to get better."

Senators coach Paul MacLean said he's looking for more production from Michalek.

"We look at who we're playing, and how we match up, and we feel that's going to give us the best opportunity to win a game," MacLean said Thursday.

"When you get sat out, it's an opportunity to reboot."

Here are the projected lineups:


Clarke MacArthurKyle TurrisAlex Chiasson

Mike HoffmanZack SmithBobby Ryan

Erik CondraDavid LegwandChris Neil

Milan MichalekCurtis LazarMark Stone

Chris PhillipsErik Karlsson

Jared CowenCody Ceci

Patrick WierciochEric Gryba

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Colin Greening, Mika Zibanejad, Mark Borowiecki

Injured: Marc Methot (back/hip)


Sean BergenheimAleksander BarkovBrad Boyes

Jonathan HuberdeauNick BjugstadTomas Fleischmann

Brandon PirriVincent Trocheck - Jimmy Hayes

Tomas KopeckyDerek MackenzieShawn Thornton

Brian CampbellAaron Ekblad

Willie MitchellDmitry Kulikov

Dylan OlsenErik Gudbranson

Al Montoya

Dan Ellis

Scratched: Colby Robak

Injured: Jussi Jokinen (flu), Roberto Luongo (upper body), Dave Bolland (lower body), Scottie Upshall (ankle)

Status report: Bolland skated for the second straight day on Friday, and could return to the lineup next week, according to Tallon. Bolland has been out since Oct. 17 with a groin injury. … Luongo, who played a few minutes after sustaining his injury on Wednesday, told the Miami Herald he hopes to be back next week.

Who's hot: Bjugstad has eight goals in his past eight games, including three multigoal games. Two of those goals are game-winners, accounting for half of the Panthers game-winning goals over that stretch.

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