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Thomas activated as Horachek coaches first game

by Sean Farrell

OTTAWA -- Goalie Tim Thomas was activated from injured reserve by the Florida Panthers on Saturday prior to the game against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.

The two-time Vezina Trophy winner led the Panthers onto the ice for the pre-game warm-up. Thomas has won his past nine games at Canadian Tire Centre, all as a member of the Boston Bruins.

Florida interim coach Peter Horachek makes his debut on Saturday. One of the few certainties about his starting lineup is that Jesse Winchester won't be included.

Winchester was suspended for three games Friday for elbowing Boston Bruins forward Chris Kelly in the head in Florida's 4-1 loss at TD Garden on Thursday.

"I didn't know what to expect, really," Winchester said. "It is their ruling. I have to respect it, and live and learn, and move on."

Horachek was promoted from San Antonio of the American Hockey League by Panthers general manager Dale Tallon, who fired coach Kevin Dineen and assistant coaches Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsay on Friday.

Tallon met with his players before Horachek and new assistant coaches Brian Skrudland and John Madden ran their first Panthers practice Friday at the University of Ottawa.

"(Friday) was a day full of meetings for me but we're excited about having the new coaches here," Winchester said. "There's a little bit different feel coming into today. The guys are excited to play."

Winchester said that he had reached out to Kelly, who was his teammate when both players were with Ottawa.

"I'm looking to hear back from him but I just hope he realizes it was not intentional," he said.

Aside from dressing defenseman Patrick Wiercioch in place of Eric Gryba, Senators coach Paul MacLean will go with the same lineup that won 4-1 against Montreal on Thursday.

MacLean expects the Panthers will be fired up.

"Any time that coaching change happens it's a reflection of the whole group and we expect they're professional, and they'll be much more aggressive, and we have to be ready for that," MacLean said.

Here are the projected lineups for the Panthers and Senators:


Tomas Fleischmann - Alexander Barkov - Jonathan Huberdeau

Sean Bergenheim - Shawn Matthias - Brad Boyes

Kris Versteeg - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky

Scottie Upshall - Nick Bjugstad - Krys Barch

Brian Campbell - Erik Gudbranson

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Matt Gilroy - Tom Gilbert

Tim Thomas

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Jacob Markstrom, Scott Gomez, Jesse Winchester (suspended)

Injured: Steven Pinizzotto (hip), Ed Jovanovski (hip)


Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Mika Zibanejad

Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

Milan Michalek - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Matt Kassian - Derek Grant - Cory Conacher

Jared Cowen - Erik Karlsson

Chris Phillips - Patrick Wiercioch

Mark Borowiecki - Marc Methot

Robin Lehner

Craig Anderson

Scratched: Joe Corvo, Eric Gryba

Injured: Erik Condra (right leg muscle strain)

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