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Weiss, Kuba likely back for Panthers

by Alain Poupart

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers will have some players back in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Buffalo Sabres.

In addition to center Stephen Weiss returning after missing Tuesday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins to attend his grandmother's funeral, defenseman Filip Kuba could be ready to play after missing the past two games because of an upper-body injury.

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said forward Scottie Upshall, who has missed the past 12 games with an ankle injury, was questionable, and right wing Kris Versteeg (upper body) wasn't ready.

Upshall and Versteeg were among 16 players who took part in an optional morning skate at the team’s practice facility.

Scott Clemmensen is expected to get the start in net against the Sabres after replacing Jose Theodore for the third period of Tuesday's victory against the Penguins.

Here are the Panthers' projected lines for Thursday's game:

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Tomas Kopecky

Jonathan Huberdeau - Drew Shore - Peter Mueller

Shawn Matthias - Marcel Goc - Scottie Upshall

Jack Skille - Jerred Smithson - George Parros

Filip Kuba - Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Tyson Strachan - Erik Gudbranson

Scott Clemmensen

Jose Theodore

Scratches: Alex Kovalev, Mike Santorelli, Colby Robak

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

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