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Panthers looking to get other lines going

by Alain Poupart
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida's top line of Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann has produced big numbers all season, but now the Panthers are looking for more offensive contributions from their other lines.

That's why there might be different line combinations Wednesday night when the Panthers face the New York Rangers.

In the Panthers' last two games -- 3-2 and 4-3 victories over Pittsburgh and New Jersey, respectively -- the top line accounted for six of the seven goals. The other was scored by defenseman Brian Campbell on a feed from Versteeg.

Versteeg (11), Fleischmann (9) and Weiss (8) have combined for 28 goals on the season, but no other forward has more than three.

Injuries have been a factor up front, as the Panthers had to recently recall three players from the AHL -- Tim Kennedy, Evgenii Dadonov and Michal Repik.

"I'm always tweaking things and that's a blessing and a curse," Dineen said after the Panthers' optional morning skate Wednesday. "You're searching for chemistry. If I see it a snapshot of some chemistry, that's something I certainly am going to try to encourage and stay with.

"I'm fairly patient when it comes to that, and obviously with Michal Repik and Tim Kennedy and Dads in the lineup, it's changed our dynamic a little bit and it's important that you really engage those players and make them feel a part of it. That's what we're trying to do."

Dineen didn't dismiss the possibility of breaking up his top line at some point to try to generate more balanced offensive production.

"Obviously, we haven't tweaked Weisser's line and that's always maybe even tempting to say, let's put somebody on there to get them going," Dineen said. "We'll see where we go with that."

Dineen said Wednesday morning he hadn't decided whether Jose Theodore or Jacob Markstrom would be in net against the Rangers.

Theodore has started the last three games and played well, but Dineen said he was intrigued by the idea of Markstrom going against fellow Swede Henrik Lundqvist.

"You know what, Swede vs. Swede is very enticing (vs.) going with the hot hand, it makes for a tough decision for a coach," Dineen said. "I'll probably wait until the last minute to make that call."
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