While the Panthers prepared for Tuesday's game in Pittsburgh, the list of injuries continued to grow. Stephen Weiss
will miss at least two weeks with a broken finger, suffered Saturday in Carolina.
The Panthers are used to having to step it up when injuries occur as they have had the most man-games lost of any team in the NHL this season. Still, without Weiss, someone has to step up and fill the role he was providing the successful line combination of Nathan Horton, Weiss and David Booth.
Weiss will also be missed in the face-off circle where he has taken just about half of all of the Panthers face-offs this season. One possible replacement for Weiss tomorrow night will be Brett McLean who has been playing the wing of late, but could be called upon to step in for Weiss.
“I think everyone has to step it up when you lose someone as good as Stephen,” McLean said. “I don’t know what my role will be yet, but I will do whatever it takes to help us win.”
Rob Globke will replace Weiss on the ice tomorrow night and will most likely play on the fourth line. Currently, Florida has five players (Jassen Cullimore, Kamil Kreps, Rob Globke, Tanner Glass and David Brine) who have at least played one game for Rochester (AHL) on their roster. Cullimore played a few games for Rochester after the Panthers signed him, but the other players have all been called up to fill voids left by injury and they will have the daunting task of facing a young and energetic Penguins squad Tuesday night.
Sidney Crosby is not expected to play tomorrow night while he is still nursing his sprained ankle. But Evgeni Malkin has stepped up in Crosby’s absence and has seven goals and 12 assists in the last eight games.
The Penguins bring a fast and young team to the ice and the Panthers will have to match the young Penguins intensity.
“We have to be just as quick as them and out-hustle them,” McLean said. “This is a big game for us. We need the two points.”
Panthers defensemen Cory Murphy is also expected to be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch Saturday night in Carolina to allow Magnus Johansson to see some playing time. Assistant Coach Mike Kitchen said that Murphy didn’t do anything wrong, they just wanted Johansson to get in a game.
“You don’t want to keep a player out of a lineup too long and Magnus had been practicing hard in practice all week,” Kitchen said. “Cory’s timing is just a little off since coming back from injury, but I’m not concerned. I did think Magnus played very well Saturday night as well.”
The game Tuesday night at Mellon Arena begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be aired locally on FSN-Florida and on the radio at 790AM The Ticket.