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Preview: Panthers at Hurricanes

Carolina's Michael Leighton gets first NHL start since 2013; Florida opens six-game trip

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

PANTHERS (11-9-1) at HURRICANES (8-8-4)

6 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-CR, NHL.TV


Panthers team scope

The Florida Panthers begin a six-game road trip one night after a 2-1 shootout win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at home. Aleksander Barkov scored the only goal of the shootout, and Roberto Luongo made 36 saves. Jaromir Jagr scored his 752nd NHL goal. Florida is 6-1 in games decided in overtime or the shootout. "We're a confident group when we get to extra time that we can get the job done, whether that's 3-on-3 or even the shootout. We've had some success over the last couple of years," Luongo said after the game. "We carried the play in overtime. I thought we had a couple of good chances we didn't bury, but we found a way to get it done in the shootout." The Panthers are completing their third set of back-to-back games. In each of the first two, Luongo started the first game and James Reimer played the second.


Hurricanes team scope

Michael Leighton will start in goal for Carolina, which is trying to rebound after two straight losses following a five-game winning streak. It's Leighton's first NHL start since Jan. 27, 2013, when he was with the Philadelphia Flyers and lost 5-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. "It is a meaningful start, for sure," coach Bill Peters said. "Our guys have a lot of respect for what he's done in his career. He will come in and play real well for us tonight. He's been real good for us [in Charlotte] at the American Hockey League level. He's had a lot of success in the past at the NHL level. We have no problem putting him in." Leighton, who played 29 games for the Hurricanes between 2007 and 2010, has also played for the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators. The 35-year-old has played 106 NHL games since his debut in 2002-03. Leighton's most recent NHL victory was Dec. 30, 2010, a 7-4 decision against the Los Angeles Kings. Cam Ward had started the past nine games. Carolina has scored two goals or fewer in eight of 12 games in November; the Hurricanes are 2-4-2 in those games and 4-0-0 when scoring three or more goals.


Panthers projected lineup

Jussi Jokinen -- Aleksander Barkov -- Jaromir Jagr

Jonathan Marchessault -- Vincent Trocheck -- Reilly Smith

Colton Sceviour -- Denis Malgin -- Nick Bjugstad

Seth Griffith -- Derek MacKenzie -- Shawn Thornton

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Michael Matheson -- Aaron Ekblad

Jakub Kindl -- Mark Pysyk

James Reimer

Roberto Luongo

Scratched: Kyle Rau, Dylan McIlrath

Injured: Jonathan Huberdeau (lower leg), Alex Petrovic (ankle)


Hurricanes projected lineup

Jeff Skinner -- Jordan Staal -- Sebastian Aho

Teuvo Teravainen -- Victor Rask -- Elias Lindholm

Andrej Nestrasil -- Derek Ryan -- Lee Stempniak

Joakim Nordstrom -- Jay McClement -- Viktor Stalberg

Ron Hainsey -- Justin Faulk

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin -- Matt Tennyson

Michael Leighton

Cam Ward

Scratched: Klas Dahlbeck

Injured: Bryan Bickell (multiple sclerosis), Eddie Lack (concussion), Brock McGinn (upper body)


Status report

If Reimer plays, it would be his eighth start of the season. … Nestrasil played Saturday after sitting out the previous six games as a healthy scratch.


Who's hot

Barkov has seven assists in the past nine games. Trocheck has three goals and 10 points in his past 13 games. ... Ward has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of his past 11 starts. Carolina has killed 26 consecutive penalties.

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