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Olsen set to make Panthers debut vs. Flyers

by Alain Poupart

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers will have both of the prospects they acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks 11 days ago in the lineup when they face the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.

Defenseman Dylan Olsen will make his Panthers debut against the Flyers, joining forward Jimmy Hayes. The two were acquired on Nov. 14 in the trade that sent veteran forward Kris Versteeg to Chicago.

Hayes immediately joined the Panthers after the trade and played in the last four games of Florida's five-game road trip.

Olsen had been playing with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League until he was called up on Sunday.

One thing Hayes and Olsen bring to the Panthers is some size, with Hayes standing 6-foot-6 and Olsen standing 6-2.

"It's hard to teach size," Panthers interim coach Peter Horachek said after the morning skate Monday. "They're big, solid guys. That helps. They're good kids. (The) youthful size and that energy that they bring, I think, is really positive."

Olsen appeared in 22 games for the Blackhawks in 2011-12, but spent all of last season with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. Ironically, his first NHL game also came against the Flyers.

Olsen made his NHL debut on Jan. 5, 2012 in a 5-4 Chicago loss against the Flyers, playing 9:48 and finishing with three shots on goal.

The defenseman's most vivid memory of that game, however, involves a run-in with Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds.

"Simmons tried to run me, threw an elbow," Olsen said. "Other than that, I remember I had quite a few shots, couple of scoring opportunities. Hopefully I can do that again tonight and put one in the back of the net."

In Florida's last game, a 4-3 shootout loss against the Calgary Flames on Friday night, Hayes scored his first goal in a Panthers uniform.

"It's like a huge relief to get one early here and just get everything going in the right direction," Hayes said. "I feel like I can score some goals. That's what they're expecting of me, to be physical and bring energy, and [scoring] goals, that's just a bonus."

Along with Olsen, the Panthers' defense corps also should be bolstered by the return of veteran Mike Weaver, who missed the past four games because of an illness.

Weaver was put on injured reserve Sunday to make room on the roster for Olsen, but the move was retroactive and Horachek said he was expecting Weaver to be in the lineup Monday night.

As of Monday afternoon, the Panthers had yet to activate Weaver or clear a roster spot for him.

The Flyers, meanwhile, figure to go with the same lineup that has helped produce a 6-0-1 record over the past seven games.

Increased production on offense has led to the turnaround. Philadelphia has scored 27 goals in its past seven games after scoring only 22 in its first 15.

"They're shooting the puck," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "We've got a good rush attack going right now. We're starting to figure out the [offensive] zone part of it. We're doing a good job using our D. Everybody is involved in it, which is important. When we get pucks and people to the net, good things happen. That's what we're doing."

Here are the projected lineups for the Flyers and Panthers on Monday night at BB&T Center:


Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Brayden SchennVincent LecavalierWayne Simmonds

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Steve Downie

Jay Rosehill - Zac Rinaldo - Adam Hall

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn

Nicklas Grossman - Mark Streit

Erik Gustafsson - Luke Schenn

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Michael Raffl, Andrej Meszaros, Hal Gill


Jonathan Huberdeau - Nick Bjugstad - Tomas Fleischmann

Scottie Upshall - Aleksander Barkov - Brad Boyes

Shawn Matthias - Marcel Goc - Sean Bergenheim

Krys Barch - Scott Gomez - Jimmy Hayes

Brian Campbell - Tom Gilbert

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Dylan Olsen - Erik Gudbranson

Tim Thomas

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Mike Mottau, Krys Barch

Injured: Tomas Kopecky (upper body), Jesse Winchester (lower body), Matt Gilroy (undisclosed), Ed Jovanovski (lower body)

Notes: Kopecky and Winchester will each miss his second consecutive game after being injured during a 4-1 loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

Jovanovski continues to practice with the Panthers during morning skates, but Horachek said the veteran defenseman and team captain isn't quite ready to make his season debut after undergoing offseason hip surgery.

"He's progressing," Horachek said. "The doctors, him and the trainer, they're working out the progress. This is not a simple situation. There's a lot of healing in the inside that has to get to a certain point. If you rush it back, you're going to have setbacks. You don't want that. You continue to make sure that it's completely at a point where he can take all the pounding of a regular hockey game."

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