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Smithson set for Panthers debut against Carolina

by Kurt Dusterberg
The Florida Panthers had a bit of a new look Saturday morning after the Friday acquisition of forward Jerred Smithson, who came from Nashville in exchange for a 2012 sixth-round draft pick.

Smithson had spent the past seven seasons with the Predators. With 89 points in 527 NHL games, he brings a reputation as a strong faceoff man who finishes his checks.

"It's definitely a new experience for me. I've never been traded before," Smithson said. "It happened so fast I didn't get a chance to sit down and take it all in last night until I got to the hotel. But I'm excited. It was a long time in Nashville, but it will be good to get a fresh start."

As far as making the quick transition to a new team, Smithson wasn't worried.

"There's an easy part -- the guys are always good," he said. "I'll just go in there and do my thing and try to fit in."

Carolina will give Justin Peters his third straight start in goal. The Hurricanes had hoped to have Cam Ward back in the net Saturday night, but coach Kirk Muller insisted that Ward continues to make progress with his lower-body injury. Muller said the team is just being extra cautious.

Florida coach Kevin Dineen did not name a starting goaltender. He will make a game-time decision.

FLORIDA

Tomas Fleischmann – Stephan Weiss -– Kris Versteeg
Michael Samuelsson - Tomas Kopecky - Shawn Matthias
Michal Repik - Mike Santorelli – Jerrod Smithson
Krystofer Barch - Jon MatsumotoJack Skille

Brian CampbellErik Gudbranson
Ed Jovanovski - Jason Garrison
Keaton EllerbyMike Weaver

Jose Theodore
Scott Clemmensen

CAROLINA

Jiri TlustyEric StaalJerome Samson
Jussi JokinenJeff SkinnerPatrick Dwyer
Drayson BowmanBrandon SutterAndreas Nodl
Anthony StewartTim BrentDerek Joslin

Tim GleasonBryan Allen
Jay HarrisonJustin Faulk
Jaroslav SpacekJamie McBain

Justin Peters
Mike Murphy
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