BOSTON -- The Florida Panthers will take the ice Thursday against the Boston Bruins with the fewest points in the Eastern Conference and a four-game losing streak.
Now here's the bad news:
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen announced after his team's morning skate at TD Garden that forward Kris Versteeg will have season-ending knee surgery. Versteeg, Florida's third-leading scorer last season, he has played in 10 games this season. He was playing his third game back from a prior injury when he was hit by Radko Gudas of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Versteeg left the game and did not return.
The Panthers already are without last season’s second-leading scorer, Stephen Weiss, who faced season-ending wrist surgery.
There was a touch of positive news for Florida: Defenseman Ed Jovanovski skated with the team and continued to progress toward a return.
"So that's a loss for us," Dineen said of Versteeg. "He was starting to find his step and he'll be missed. But you lose one important piece and we've got one [Jovanovski] coming."
Here's the Panthers' projected lineup:
Jonathan Huberdeau – Drew Shore – Peter Mueller
Tomas Fleischmann – Marcel Goc – Tomas Kopecky
Jonathan Rheault – Shawn Matthias – Jack Skille
George Parros – Jerred Smithson – Mike Santorelli
Brian Campbell – Erik Gudbranson
Filip Kuba – Tyson Strachan
Colby Robak – Nolan Yonkman
Scratched: Alex Kovalev
Injured: Kris Versteeg (knee), Ed Jovanovski (knee), Mike Weaver (lower body), Dmitry Kulikov (wrist), Scott Upshall (lower body), Stephen Weiss (wrist), Jose Theodore (groin), Michael Caruso (wrist)