Ville Peltonen shoots and scores against Atlanta Thrashers goaltender Kari Lehtonen during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
CORAL SPRINGS – Typical of Ville Peltonen, he thinks he’ll be skating later this week.
So what if he has a fractured bone in his foot. Not only did he play with it Saturday afternoon in the Panthers’ 8-4 victory over Atlanta, the veteran scored two goals.
“I took a shot on the foot in the first period,” said Peltonen early Tuesday afternoon after his teammates went back to work with an hour skate at IncredibleIce. “I felt something but a lot of times it’s nothing. (Monday) I saw the doctors and they took a bone scan and they found a little crack.”
Peltonen, a third of one of the Panthers’ most consistent and productive line this year along with Radek Dvorak and Gregory Campbell, has eight goals and 11 assists. He has four goals (six points) in his last five games.
Peltonen, who missed 24 games last season with a foot injury, is optimistic he won’t miss much time with this fracture.
“I think this one is different,” he said. “It’s a different bone than last year. I haven’t skated since (Saturday) but I think it will feel better in the (skate). I think I’ll be out skating sooner rather than later.”
Peltonen, Campbell and Dvorak have accounted for nine goals (18 points) in the Panthers previous five games. When asked why the line has played so well, Peltonen credited preparation and trust.
“Usually, all of us are ready to play every game, every shift,” he said. “Then you’re in no matter what. You keep playing hard and playing simple enough and responsible, and we really have a good trust for each other. It’s really important out there.”
DeBoer said if Peltonen does miss any significant time it’s something “we’ll have to get through.”
It’s not anything we haven’t dealt with this year, but it’s definitely a hit,” said DeBoer, who had Nathan Horton, Cory Stillman and Richard Zednik out at the same time earlier this year and has been going recently without injured forwards Kamil Kreps and Rostislav Olesz.
“He was playing well,” added DeBoer of Peltonen. “That line had good chemistry. Someone else is going to have to jump in there and pick up the void he has created.”
Asked if Brett McLean, who practiced Tuesday with Dvorak and Campbell, might be that person, DeBoer said; “It’s the first day so I was just throwing some lines together.”
“I don’t know yet,” he added. “It depends on Kreps (out since Dec. 29 with a shoulder injury), whether he can play and some other things. I wouldn’t say today in set in stone.”
DeBoer skated the Panthers hard after a day off Sunday and the team participating Monday in the Florida Panthers Foundation’s Second Annual Golf Classic.
The Panthers won’t forget the last time they had a two-day break. That came at Christmas, and the Panthers came back off that break and went 0-3-1 in their first four games back.
“We’ve got to keep that edge,” DeBoer said. “We have four important games (Flyers, Lightning, Sabres and Stars) before the All-Star break. I think at Christmas break we lost a little of that edge.”
While the Panthers sit and wait to play consecutive games at home Friday against the Flyers and Saturday in Tampa, the two teams a point ahead of them in the Eastern Conference – Carolina and Buffalo – have a busy week. Buffalo plays Wednesday in Chicago and Thursday in Dallas while Carolina plays Tuesday in Ottawa and Thursday at home against Toronto. The Hurricanes and Sabres then meet Saturday in Carolina…
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