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game preview

Panthers at Senators preview

Florida 5-2-0 in past seven games; Balcers to make season debut for Ottawa

by Callum Fraser / Independent Correspondent

PANTHERS (20-14-5) at SENATORS (16-19-5)

7:30 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, FS-F, NHL.TV


The Game

Rudolfs Balcers will make his season debut for the Ottawa Senators when they play the Florida Panthers at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday.

The forward was recalled from Belleville of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. He has 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in 19 AHL games this season.

Goalie Craig Anderson will start for Ottawa, which is 5-3-4 in its past 12 games.

The Panthers are 5-2-0 in their past seven games after going 2-4-0 in their previous six.


Players to watch

Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau was named NHL First Star for December after he had 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 13 games, including 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in his past seven.

Senators forward Anthony Duclair has 16 points (11 goals, five assists) in his past 13 games.


They said it

"Let's bring some energy, let's be respectful of [the Senators]; they play extremely well at home. Let's get back and try to get our momentum going that we had with a nice little run, and let's recapture it." -- Panthers coach Joel Quenneville

"He went down there and did a real nice job. He certainly gets a lot of points in the American Hockey League. Now he has to prove it up top, that he can be an offensive threat. But in saying that, he's going to have to work, track, do all the things away from the puck that allow you to stay in the League." -- Senators coach D.J. Smith on Rudolfs Balcers


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Brett Connolly -- Vincent Trocheck -- Noel Acciari

Frank Vatrano -- Brian Boyle -- Mike Hoffman

Colton Sceviour -- Dominic Toninato -- Mark Pysyk

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman -- Anton Stralman

Mike Matheson -- Josh Brown

Sergei Bobrovsky

Chris Driedger

Scratched: Denis Malgin, Jayce Hawryluk

Injured: MacKenzie Weegar (upper body)


Senators projected lineup

Brady Tkachuk -- Chris Tierney -- Anthony Duclair

Nick Paul -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Connor Brown

Rudolfs Balcers -- Colin White -- Tyler Ennis

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Artem Anisimov -- Scott Sabourin

Thomas Chabot -- Cody Goloubef

Mark Borowiecki -- Christian Jaros

Andreas Englund -- Erik Brannstrom

Craig Anderson

Marcus Hogberg

Scratched: Mikkel Boedker

Injured: Dylan DeMelo (finger), Nikita Zaitsev (undisclosed), Anders Nilsson (concussion), Ron Hainsey (undisclosed)


Status report

The Panthers did not hold a morning skate. … Zaitsev was set to return but did not take the morning skate and will not play. Smith said the defenseman was sore after practice Wednesday but did not have a setback.


Stat pack

Barkov has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past three games. … The Senators are 9-1-2 in their past 12 home games.

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