DUCKS (6-9-4) at PANTHERS (8-7-3)
TV: PRIME, FS-SD, FS-F
Defenseman Josh Manson will return to the Anaheim Ducks lineup against the Florida Panthers on Thursday at BB&T Center after missing the past two games with flu symptoms that got worse during a cross-country flight to North Carolina on Sunday.
"I felt it in the morning," Manson told The Orange County Register. "I didn't sleep that well [Saturday] night. And then on the plane is when it really started. I realized I had something more than a stomachache. It's on its way out now though."
Manson will play for Korbinian Holzer, who took his place in games this week against the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators.
"I thought I'd be back to 100 percent today," Manson said. "It's just lasted longer than I thought it would. But I'm good. You know hockey players, they find a way. I can't be any different."
Goalie Frederik Andersen, 0-1-2 with a 4.44 goals-against average in his past three games, will start for the Ducks. Andersen allowed three first-period goals, including one from the neutral zone, before being replaced by Anton Khudobin in a 3-2 loss to the Predators on Tuesday.
The Panthers are looking to avenge a 3-2 shootout loss to the Ducks at Honda Center on Nov. 4, a game they led 2-1 before Corey Perry's goal forced overtime with 5.1 seconds left in the third period.
"We weren't happy with that loss we had in Anaheim," forward Nick Bjugstad said in video posted on the Panthers website. "We're at the beginning of the season. They're good on paper. We knew that coming into Anaheim playing them. We have to play them hard and have to be smart tonight."
Here are the projected lineups:
Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Nick Ritchie – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Carl Hagelin – Shawn Horcoff – Andrew Cogliano
Patrick Maroon – Mike Santorelli – Chris Stewart
Cam Fowler – Kevin Bieksa
Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson
Clayton Stoner – Sami Vatanen
Injured: Simon Despres (concussion), Jiri Sekac (ankle), Nate Thompson (shoulder), Kenton Helgesen (foot)
Scratched: Korbinian Holzer Michael Sgarbossa
Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen - Nick Bjugstad - Reilly Smith
Dave Bolland - Vincent Trocheck - Brandon Pirri
Garrett Wilson - Derek MacKenzie - Shawn Thornton
Brian Campbell - Aaron Ekblad
Willie Mitchell - Erik Gudbranson
Steven Kampfer - Alex Petrovic
Injured: Dmitry Kulikov (lower body)
Scratched:���������Rocco Grimaldi, Quinton Howden
Status report: Luongo will start for the Panthers, who made lineup adjustments with Thornton and Wilson playing for Grimaldi and Howden. … Kulikov will miss 2-4 weeks with a knee injury that will not require surgery, according to The Miami Herald. … Ekblad will play in his 100th career game. … Defenseman Shea Theodore was returned to the Ducks' American Hockey League affiliate in San Diego on Wednesday.
Who's hot: Rakell has two goals and six points in his past six games. ... Vatanen has points in four of his past five (two goals, three assists). … Getzlaf has one goal and five assists in six games since returning from a non-emergency appendectomy. … Perry has five goals and eight points in his past eight games. … Huberdeau has one goal and six points in his past seven games. … Jokinen has one goal and five points in his past six. … Trocheck has two goals and three assists in his past four. … Ekblad is on a four-game point streak (three goals, one assist).