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Red Wings' Weiss to play Panthers for first time

by Brian Hedger

PANTHERS (8-16-5) at RED WINGS (15-8-7)


Last 10: Florida 4-5-1; Detroit 6-3-1

Season series: This is the first of five games between the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings. They will play twice more in December.

Big story: Red Wings forward Stephen Weiss faces his former team for the first time since signing a five-year contract Detroit worth a reported $24.5 million this summer.

Things haven't gone well for Weiss. He's scored two goals, dealt with a groin injury, and been demoted to the fourth line. Multiple injuries have given him another shot to prove himself in a top-six role.

Florida is looking for its first win against an Atlantic Division opponent (0-6-1).

Team Scope:

Panthers: Florida snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday by beating the Winnipeg Jets to end a five-game homestand with a 2-3-0 record. Promising young players led the way, with three of the five goals scored by those without much NHL experience: Dylan Olsen, Nick Bjugstad and Jimmy Hayes.

The Panthers scored four straight goals to take a 4-1 lead in a 5-2 win.

"I think it was very important after they scored that first goal that we stayed focused and stayed on," Florida coach Peter Horachek said. "We've had that issue the past few games, where something happens and it kind of sets us off [course]. So, I think it put us in a really good position to come back, tie that game back up and I think our guys felt good about it."

Red Wings: Johan Franzen's goal 12:40 into the third period Friday night broke a 1-1 tie and led to a 3-1 road victory against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Detroit got forward Todd Bertuzzi back from an upper-body injury but played without forwards Darren Helm (shoulder), Henrik Zetterberg (back) and Pavel Datsyuk (concussion), and defenseman Danny DeKeyser (shoulder).

"We've got to keep it going," Franzen said. "It's tough without our big guys, but it's important knowing we can win without them."

Jonas Gustavsson hardly got any work in net, making 10 saves, but picked up the win to push his record to 8-0-1. Detroit coach Mike Babcock declined to name his starter for this game.

Who's hot: Hayes (second NHL goal) and Olsen (first) were acquired in the trade that sent Kris Versteeg to the Chicago Blackhawks; Olsen also had an assist. … Franzen has scored in three straight games. Forward Tomas Tatar has three goals and four points in the past two games.

Injury report: Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski (lower body) and defenseman Matt Gilroy (lower body) are on injured reserve. Forward Tomas Kopecky (elbow) is day-to-day. Forward Aleksander Barkov left the game against Winnipeg in the third period with a lower-body injury but is expected to play.

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