The Panthers will take the BankAtlantic ice tonight against Southeast Division-rival Tampa missing another starter from the lineup.
GM and coach Jacques Martin said Saturday morning that forward Jozef Stumpel will miss between seven-and-10 days with a shoulder injury he suffered Thursdsay evening in Atlanta.
With Stumpel out, Martin recalled Tanner Glass from the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester. This is the third time Glass has been called from Rochester. He’s played 16 games with the Panthers this season.
“With the number of people we have on the injured list…it seems to keep mounting,” Martin said. “When you look at Stumpel, look at (Ville) Peltonen (foot), you have four defensemen (Mike Van Ryn, Cory Murphy, Noah Welch, Branislav Mezei). We’re kind of depleted, but it’s an opportunity for somebody else.”
Martin said with Stumpel out, Radek Dvorak will start the game playing alongside Olli Jokinen and Richard Zednik.
“(Dvorak) played the third period in Atlanta (with Jokinen and Zednik) and I think he’ll be able to fulfill that role,” Martin added. “He’s got speed. He’s a hard-working guy. He’s got some good experience.
“I really like the line that produced on Thursday in Atlanta, (Brett) McLean with (Kamil) Kreps and (Rostislav) Olesz. They had both goals in that game. They seemed to have some chemistry. Then we’ll leave the (Stephen) Weiss line (with Nathan Horton and David Booth) together.”
The Panthers will not only try to pick up two points tonight against a division rival, but they’ll try to turn their luck around when it comes to playing at home. The Panthers have lost their last four games at BankAtlantic despite some strong efforts, particularly Dec. 30 against Philadelphia.
“If you look at last year, our record at home was great and we couldn’t win on the road,” Martin said. “I think we have to keep our focus, keep our game simple, and not worry about the result but really put our focus on the process.”
The Panthers are 11-2 against the Lightning at BankAtlantic since 2003-04 and are 25-7-2 with four times against Tampa all-time in the building.
The Lightning, featuring MVP candidate Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards, have struggled this season and are seven games below .500. The beat the Rangers 5-3 Tuesday but lost to Pittsburgh 4-1 Thursday.
Martin said to beat the Lightning, the Panthers will have to play with the kind of determination he saw Thursday when beating Atlanta 3-2 in a shootout.
“If you look at our season, look at the parity, it’s imperative that we play with that urgency,” he said. “Like with Tampa coming in, if you’re not at your best, they have people who can really hurt you. They have some great players.”