WINNIPEG, Manitoba – The Winnipeg Jets proved to be a good tonic for the Florida Panthers last week, and the Panthers hope that an encore engagement Tuesday night at MTS Centre will provide a similar result.
Florida thumped Winnipeg last Thursday at BB&T Center, using a five-goal third period to take a 6-3 decision. The Panthers followed that effort with a 4-3 road win at Buffalo that began a four-game road trip. The back-to-back two-point efforts have taken some of the sting out of a season-opening 1-5-0 start.
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen likes the steps that his team has taken.
"I think we're playing with little more group-of-five than the individual play that we saw earlier," Dineen said. "We were out of sync. There was not a whole of flow going on. I think there's better chemistry as a team and how we have to play."
The Panthers could also receive a boost to their defense corps. Dineen expects that Erik Gudbranson, recalled from the American Hockey League earlier on Tuesday morning, will arrive in Winnipeg in time to make his season debut with the Panthers. Gudbranson has returned to play after having shoulder surgery played Monday evening for the Panthers' San Antonio affiliate.
"We'll see where he's at, and we'll see how he feels," Dineen said.
Dineen would not confirm his starting goaltender, but it is expected to be Scott Clemmensen. The veteran goaltender last appeared in a 7-1 home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 26, but he delivered a 41-save performance in Winnipeg against the Jets on Jan. 21, 2012.
Here is the projected lineup for the Panthers:
Tomas Fleischmann – Stephen Weiss – Kris Versteeg
Jonathan Huberdeau – Drew Shore – Peter Mueller
Tomas Kopecky – Marcel Goc – Alexei Kovalev
Shawn Matthias – Jerred Smithson – George Parros
Brian Campbell – Filip Kuba
Dmitry Kulikov – Mike Weaver
Erik Gudbranson – Keaton Ellerby
Injured: Sean Bergenheim, Michael Caruso, Ed Jovanovski, Scottie Upshall
Scratched: Jack Skille