CORAL SPRINGS - Before attending Wednesday’s annual Face-Off Luncheon at the Signature Grand in Davie, the Panthers were at incredible
ICE working on special teams and other parts of their game in preparation for a busy upcoming weekend.
After splitting a pair of games last weekend against the Blackhawks to open the season, the Panthers will play Friday at Carolina before opening their home schedule Saturday at BankAtlantic Center against the Devils. Then it’s on to Tampa for a game Monday against the Lightning.
Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said the past three days have been like a mini-training camp after spending a busy preseason playing nine games.
“With our preseason schedule we had a limited number of good practice opportunities, and those were cut into with days off for rest,” he said. “This is one period where we can one, get back on a North American clock and feel good again and, two, get some things accomplished. There were some holes exposed in those two Chicago games that we really had to work at.
“We did special teams this morning before practice and during practice we worked on details. We gave up too many shots (88), too many chances, to Chicago. We’re working on our defensive game and coverage assignments, all the details of the game on how we have to play to be successful. We have to be a detail team. We’re not going to beat anyone with an overabundance of talent or world-class players. We’re going to have to do it as a team and pay attention to detail, and that’s how we’re going to have to get it done.”
DeBoer had defenseman Ville Koistinen practicing Wednesday on the fourth line and said Koistinen would likely play there Friday in Carolina “barring any injuries.” Koistinen spent 10 games in Nashville last year playing forward and enjoyed the experience.
“Obviously, it’s different,” he said. “I think it’s harder. You have to skate much more and the game feels faster…maybe because I haven’t practiced it that much. But as long as you stay in the lineup, it’s fun. It’s much better than staying with you guys in the press box.” NOTES
DeBoer said he anticipated recently-signed forward Dominic Moore to arrive sometime with the next 24-48 hours and didn’t rule out the possibility of Moore meeting the team Thursday in Carolina. “I would like that he get in here for a practice before we leave, but we leave (Thursday). Unless he gets in this afternoon, it probably won’t happen.”…DeBoer also said he expected goalie Scott Clemmensen
, to rejoin the team this weekend after tending to family matters. DeBoer didn’t anticipate Clemmensen playing in Carolina or Saturday in the Panthers season-opener at BankAtlantic Center against the Devils. “The plan is for (Tomas) Vokoun to start both games.”…Vokoun said his focus wasn’t playing on consecutive nights but rather Friday’s game against the Hurricanes. “If you worry about the second one before the first one, usually, it doesn’t go very well,” he said. “I’m working at practice on my game and, hopefully, it will translate into the game.”…Vokoun’s backup if Clemmensen doesn’t return by Friday will be Alexander Salak…DeBoer continues to be impressed with rookie defenseman and first-round pick Dmitry Kulikov
, who averaged 18:33 in his first two NHL games. “If you think about this kid and what’s been thrown at him the first month,” DeBoer said. “All the contract uncertainty, having to come in and make the team, now being here at least nine, 10 games to show his stuff, going to Europe, coming back…He’s got a lot on his plate. The nice thing is he’s a mature kid and he’s confident he can handle it.” Said Kulikov: “Everything is good so far. I’m here and learning with every practice.”…Center Steven Reinprecht left practice early after being struck in the foot with a puck.