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Oilers at Panthers preview

Kassian suspended for Edmonton; Florida looks to avoid sixth loss in seven games

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

OILERS (30-21-6) at PANTHERS (30-21-6)

4 p.m. ET; FS-F, SNW, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Zack Kassian will serve the first of his seven-game suspension for the Edmonton Oilers when they visit the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Saturday.

The forward was suspended for kicking Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak in a 3-1 loss on Thursday. 

The Oilers, who are 2-3-0 in their past five games, will also play their third straight game without center Connor McDavid, who is out 2-3 weeks because of a left quad injury.

Florida, which is coming off a 6-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, is 1-4-1 in its past six games and has been outscored 24-12 in that span.

The Panthers defeated the Oilers 6-2 at Rogers Place on Oct. 27.

 

Players to watch

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past three games and leads the NHL with 90 points this season.

Panthers forward Mike Hoffman has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past seven games. 

 

They said it

"After losses, we're down for 15 minutes and then you've got to shut it off, shake it off and keep playing. It's a new day tomorrow. Leaders in here are really good at emphasizing that." -- Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto

"They've got a strong team game. They've improved in that area. Obviously, they've got some key players that you've got to be aware of, but they're missing the [most key player] maybe in the game. It's something to be aware of with that group." -- Panthers coach Joel Quenneville

 

Oilers projected lineup

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Leon Draisaitl -- Kailer Yamamoto

Sam Gagner -- Gaetan Haas -- Alex Chiasson

Josh Archibald -- Riley Sheahan -- Markus Granlund

Jujhar Khaira -- Colby Cave -- Patrick Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Ethan Bear

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Caleb Jones -- Matt Benning

Mike Smith

Mikko Koskinen

Scratched: William Lagesson, Tyler Benson

Injured: Connor McDavid (quad), Kris Russell (concussion), Joakim Nygard (hand), James Neal (ankle)

Suspended: Zack Kassian

 

Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Mike Hoffman -- Vincent Trocheck -- Brett Connolly 

Frank Vatrano -- Dominic Toninato -- Colton Sceviour

Mike Matheson -- Noel Acciari -- Mark Pysyk

MacKenzie Weegar -- Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman -- Anton Stralman

Keith Yandle -- Josh Brown

Sam Montembeault 

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Denis Malgin, Jayce Hawryluk

Injured: Brian Boyle (upper body), Chris Driedger (lower body)

 

Status report

Bobrovsky and Hawryluk, a forward, each missed practice Friday because of an illness. … Acciari practiced Friday and is expected to play after leaving in the second period against the Flyers with an upper-body injury. … Granlund was recalled from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Friday after the Oilers placed McDavid on injured reserve, retroactive to Feb. 9. … Sheahan, who finished last season with the Panthers, is expected to play in his 500th NHL game.

 

Stat pack

Florida is 0-for-11 on the power play and has allowed one shorthanded goal in its past four games. … Nugent-Hopkins has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past three games. … Dadonov doesn't have a point in his past six games.

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