The Panthers skated Thursday morning at Madison Square Garden in preparation for tonight’s season-opener against the Rangers.
With Richard Zednik out of the lineup with a shoulder injury, GM and coach Jacques Martin called up center Kamil Kreps from the team’s American Hockey League affiliate (AHL) in Rochester.
Kreps, one of the last cuts during training camp, will center a fourth line alongside Rob Globke and David Booth. “I thought Kamil had a pretty good camp so it’s an opportunity for him to get into the first game,” Martin said.
Kreps, who was practicing with the Rochester Americans and playing on a line with Anthony Stewart and Dan Collins, has played parts of three seasons in the AHL with Globke.
“It’s like starting over,” Kreps said of his opportunity this evening. “Now I’m back here and I’ll take it game by game.”
Captain Olli Jokinen, Ville Peltonen and Jozef Stumpel will be the first line while Stephen Weiss
, Nathan Horton and Rostaslav Olesz will be the second group and Brett McLean, Gregory Campbell and Radek Dvorak will comprise the third line.
Cory Murphy, who spent the past six seasons playing in Finland and Sweden, will make his NHL debut tonight at the age of 29.
“I don’t really know what to say,” Murphy said. “It’s probably the biggest stage to start my NHL career. I couldn’t have picked a better building. It’s been a little bit of a journey to get here, but I think it makes it that much special.”
When asked the best way to shut down the Rangers’ Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez, Murphy replied, “I think it’s trying to contain them and playing solid defense, which is easier said than done against these guys. You have to take away their time and space and let them play as little as you can in our zone.”
Defenseman Noel Welch will sit this evening.