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Panthers' Versteeg out of lineup against Canadiens

by Alain Poupart

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers will be without right wing Kris Versteeg when they face the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

Versteeg, who sustained an upper-body injury in Tuesday's 6-5 overtime loss against the Washington Capitals, did not take part in the team's morning skate. Versteeg also didn't take part in Monday's practice and coach Kevin Dineen said he was day-to-day.

Versteeg's spot on the top line alongside Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann was taken by Shawn Matthias.

Versteeg was injured when he absorbed a hard check into the boards from Alex Ovechkin 1:13 into Tuesday's game. Versteeg stayed on the ice for a couple of minutes and left the bench area, but returned shortly thereafter.

On his first shift back, Versteeg cross-checked Ovechkin near center ice and the two scuffled.

Versteeg finished the game, ending with 13:38 of ice time.

It's the second injury setback this season for Versteeg, who missed the first five games after sustaining a lower-body injury the day before the season opener.

Versteeg has one goal and two assists in six games after finishing third on the team with 54 points last season.

Here is the Panthers' projected lineup:

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Shawn Matthias

Jonathan Huberdeau - Drew Shore - Peter Mueller

Alex Kovalev - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky

Jack Skille - Jerred Smithson - George Parros

Filip Kuba - Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Tyson Strachan - Erik Gudbranson

Jose Theodore

Scott Clemmensen

Injured: RW Kris Versteeg (upper body), D Ed Jovanovski (knee), LW Scottie Upshall (ankle), LW Sean Bergenheim (lower body), D Michael Caruso (wrist)

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