FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers (6-11-5) will go into tonight’s game with the Winnipeg Jets (10-10-1) (6:30 p.m., TSNJets, TSN 1290) with nine regulars out of their lineup.
Panthers GM Dale Tallon gave an injury update this morning and listed goalie Jose Theodore, defencemen Dmitry Kulikov, Mike Weaver, Ed Jovanovski, Mike Caruso as well as forwards Scottie Upshall, Kris Versteeg, Sean Bergenheim and Stephen Weiss as injured. Caruso was injured on a recall from the AHL and is not considered a regular, however, forward Alex Kovalev is absent from the team while "weighing his options," according to Tallon.
"It’s a non-factor to me. Give me 18 players and let’s go," said Panthers coach Kevin Dineen. "It’s out of my control and I can’t worry about it. I sent lots of players up to the NHL during my time as a coach in the AHL. Players get and opportunity and they arrive with enthusiasm. Our players understand our situation and it’s time to move forward. I’m glad Dale addressed it because this is the last time I will talk about it."
The Panthers will start Jacob Markstrom in goal as he’s expected to be the new starter for Florida and their goalie of the future.
Jets coach Claude Noel confirmed to the media he’s countering with Ondrej Pavelec for his 10th consecutive start. Noel will also sit winger Chris Thorburn and insert Kyle Wellwood on a line with centre Jim Slater and winger Eric Tangradi.
Anthony Peluso (hand) will be replaced by Antti Miettinen on centre Olli Jokinen’s line.
Noel said Florida’s woes can’t lull the Jets into a sense of overconfidence.
"That would be the worst thing we could do. Think that they will be an easy game for us," said Noel. "Markstrom can beat us on his own. We need to get back to playing our game and be ready and go for 60 minutes."
Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien did not travel with the team to Florida on Sunday and is en route today.
"He’s supposed to get in around 5 p.m. We re-routed him through Toronto to try and avoid some of the storms," said Noel. "I’m not worried about it. If Dustin makes it, great, if not we’ll put in Derek Meech."
Byfuglien was in his hometown of Roseau, Minn., to attend to what the Jets termed as family matters.