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Panthers at Flames preview

Ekblad back in Florida lineup, Matheson out; Bennett set to return for Calgary

by Aaron Vickers / Independent Correspondent

PANTHERS (4-2-3) at FLAMES (5-5-1)

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


The Game

Aaron Ekblad is expected to return to the lineup when the Florida Panthers visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

The 23-year-old defenseman, who missed the Panthers' 4-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday because of an illness, would play his 400th NHL game. The No. 1 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft has 176 points (66 goals, 110 assists) in 399 games for Florida.

Mike Matheson will not play for Florida, which has won two straight and has points in six consecutive games (3-0-3). The defenseman is expected to be out 10-14 days with an undisclosed injury. 

Forward Sam Bennett will be back in the Flames lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury. Calgary is 3-2-0 in its past five games.


Players to watch

Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past eight games, with points in seven of them.

Flames forward Andrew Mangiapane has three points (two goals, one assist) in a three-game point streak.


They said it

"I feel like right now we're getting some points but obviously we want two points every game. I think lately we've been playing with better pace and we've just got to keep doing that on this road trip here." -- Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau

"We have to get back on track. We can't be using 'it's early in the season' or 'we're only a few games in.' We're on Game 12 now, so we've got to start to find our game here. I think we've started to trend towards that a little bit maybe in the past week, but we have another gear we have to get to." -- Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Mike Hoffman -- Brian Boyle -- Brett Connolly

Frank Vatrano -- Denis Malgin -- Mark Pysyk

Dryden Hunt -- Noel Acciari -- Colton Sceviour

MacKenzie Weegar -- Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman -- Anton Stralman

Keith Yandle -- Josh Brown

Sergei Bobrovsky

Sam Montembeault

Scratched: Jayce Hawryluk

Injured: Vincent Trocheck (lower body), Mike Matheson (undisclosed)


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Elias Lindholm

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Andrew Mangiapane -- Derek Ryan -- Sam Bennett

Milan Lucic -- Mark Jankowski -- Austin Czarnik

Mark Giordano -- TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin -- Travis Hamonic

Oliver Kylington -- Rasmus Andersson

David Rittich

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Tobias Rieder, Michael Stone

Injured: None


Status report

Trocheck is day-to-day and is expected to miss his second straight game because of a lower-body injury. … The Panthers recalled Stillman from Springfield of the American Hockey League earlier Thursday. …Gaudreau, who missed practice Wednesday because of an illness, will play. 


Stat pack

Barkov has five assists in his past four games. … Connolly has four goals in his past four games. … Malgin has four points (two goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak. . … Gaudreau and Monahan each has two assists in his past six games.

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