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Panthers get good news on injured Gudbranson

by Alain Poupart

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson's lower-body injury isn't as severe as the team feared, but Gudbranson will be out of the lineup for at least two weeks.

Gudbranson will miss the game against the Phoenix Coyotes at BB&T Center on Tuesday and will be joined on the sidelines by forward Jesse Winchester, who is out with a lower-body injury.

Gudbranson, the third pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, was injured in the third period of a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday when he collided with Bruins forward Brad Marchand near the Panthers blue line. The two appeared to bump knees and Gudbranson's leg appeared to bend awkwardly as he fell to the ice.

"The scans came back better than we anticipated," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said after the morning skate Tuesday. "I???don't really have the exact timeline. We'll have to wait to see where it is, but in the short term we got good news with the scan [because we were] fearful that there was more than we thought."

Gudbranson's spot in the lineup will be taken by veteran Mike Mottau, who was one of two players the Panthers called up Tuesday from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. Mottau will be appearing in his eighth game with the Panthers this season, his first since Dec. 3.

Also called up Tuesday was forward Joey Crabb. The 30-year-old has appeared in one game this season. He started the season with the Panthers but was a healthy scratch for the first three games and played 9:49 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 10 before being sent to San Antonio.

"Like Jesse, he's a guy with NHL???experience," Horachek said. "He's played before. He can play in a lot of situations. He can play a gritty game and he can kill penalties. He's a guy that can play with more skilled players, he can play with harder players. He's got some versatility to his game. Hopefully he's going to come up and kind of just fill into the same role that Jesse was in."

Winchester was injured in the third period against Boston and did not play in the final 9:13.

Forward Sean Bergenheim missed the morning skate Tuesday for a maintenance day and will be in the lineup.

Phoenix, which defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in a shootout Monday , did not hold a morning skate. Mike Smith, who stopped 28 of 31 shots in the victory against Tampa Bay, will start in goal.

Phoenix is the third consecutive team to face the Panthers at BB&T Center the day after playing at Tampa Bay, following the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins.

"I???think it's good," Horachek said, joking. "I think all teams coming in here should go on back-to-backs. That should be a requirement."

Here are the projected lineups for the Coyotes and Panthers:


Brandon McMillan - Mike Ribeiro - Shane Doan

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - David Moss

Martin Erat - Andy Miele - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Kyle Chipchura - Jeff Halpern

Keith Yandle - Michael Stone

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Brandon Gormley - Chris Summers

Mike Smith

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Derek Morris, Paul Bissonnette, Rob Klinkhammer

Injured: Martin Hanzal (lower body), David Schlemko (lower body)


Sean Bergenheim - Nick Bjugstad - Brad Boyes

Tomas Fleischmann - Vincent Trocheck - Scottie Upshall

Jonathan Huberdeau - Brandon Pirri - Joey Crabb

Krys Barch - Scott Gomez - Jimmy Hayes

Brian Campbell - Tom Gilbert

Ed Jovanovski - Dmitry Kulikov

Mike Mottau - Dylan Olsen

Roberto Luongo

Dan Ellis

Injured: Erik Gudbranson (lower body), Jesse Winchester (lower body), Aleksander Barkov (lower body), Tomas Kopecky (upper body)

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