NEWARK, N.J. --
In an effort to remain strong in the faceoff circle, Florida Panthers
coach Kevin Dineen
has decided to do a little line tinkering for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New Jersey Devils
on Tuesday at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).
Dineen has opted to insert Jerred Smithson
into his lineup for the first time this series. The 33-year-old Smithson, who was acquired from the Nashville Predators
on Feb. 25, led the Panthers with a 56.1-percent faceoff winning percentage (345 for 615) during the regular season. He'll replace Wojtek Wolski
in the lineup.
"We're always tinkering with our options and deciding what's best for the team," Dineen told reporters after his team's practice Tuesday. "The little adjustments here and there over the course of a series are going to happen, and that's how we feel now."
Smithson had one goal and six points in 69 regular-season games this season, but had just one assist in 16 games with the Panthers.
"Jerred has given us good minutes since he's been here," Dineen said. "When you get healthy, you have all these quality options so you spend a day evaluating and sometimes you make game-time decisions like this.
"The faceoff circle is an area we concentrated on, especially when you see a guy like [Devils forward] Travis Zajac
out there taking draws for them … he's big and strong and does a good job."
Here is the probable Game 3 lineup for the Panthers:
- Stephen Weiss
- Kris Versteeg
- Marcel Goc
- Mikael Samuelsson
- Shawn Matthias
- Jerred Smithson
- John Madden
- Tomas Kopecky
- Brian Campbell
- Mike Weaver
- Erik Gudbranson