With the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars squaring off for the third time in four days, it was expected that Rick Bowness would give goalie Anton Khudobin Thursday night off.
Still, if you are a fan of the Panthers — or a Florida player who likes scoring goals — hearing Bowness say it Thursday afternoon was a bit of a relief.
Khudobin gave the Panthers fits in the first two games at BB&T Center, first stopping 49 shots in a 3-1 loss on Monday before pitching a 3-0 shutout on Wednesday.
It was the first time this Florida team had been shutout this season.
The Panthers will look to get their offense going a little bit Thursday as it has been slowed over the past week.
Since running wild in a 7-2 rout of Detroit on Friday night, the Panthers have been held to four goals in their past three games — and one of those was a Sasha Barkov empty netter.
Dallas will go with Jake Oettinger in net tonight with the Panthers likely going with Sergei Bobrovsky who has lost his past two starts (Tampa Bay, Detroit).
Oettinger, a 22-year-old rookie from Boston University, has played well for Dallas this season. He comes into the game 2-0-3 with a 2.31 GAA and .910 save percentage.
Aside from Oettinger, Bowness said that Dallas would have the same lineup on Thursday.
Florida coach Joel Quenneville will speak to the media later this afternoon and confirm the Panthers lineup.
Defenseman Gustav Forsling is questionable after leaving Wednesday’s game early in the second period and not coming back so either Noah Juulsen or Markus Nutivaara gets in.
Do not be surprised to see Owen Tippett return, either.
UPDATE: Tippett was moved to the taxi squad and Mason Marchment called up. Also, Kevin Connauton added so he likely goes in to replace Forsling.
Florida also called up rookie Grigori Denisenko so we should see him soon.
News, Notes & Numbers
Keith Yandle will take sole possession of third place on the NHL’s all-time Ironman streak by playing tonight.
Yandle has not missed a game since March 26, 2009.
Thursday will be his 885th consecutive regular-season game surpassing Steve Larmer (1982-93) for third.
Yandle is 29 games away from tying Garry Under for second all-time, a number he could reach this season.
He is 79 games from tying Doug Jarvis for the all-time Ironman record.
— The Panthers are 5-0 this season following a loss, most recently Monday’s win against Dallas.
Florida is 12-4-2 with 26 points and can tie the 1996-97 team for best start over 20 games with wins tonight and on Saturday.
That Panthers team started 12-2-6.
— The Panthers are 6-3-1 at home this season with two of those losses coming in their past five games.
Jonathan Huberdeau leads Florida with 13 points (4-9-13) at BB&T Center.
Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad, Patric Hornqvist and Carter Verhaeghe have each registered a team-best four goals at home.
Bobrovsky is 3-1-1 on home ice.
Dallas Stars at Florida Panthers
- When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise
- Tickets: AVAILABLE HERE
- TV/Radio: FSF/560-AM
- Records: Florida 12-4-2 (1st in Central); Dallas 6-4-4 (6th)
- All-time series: Dallas leads 19-14-7
- Season series: Tied 1-1
- Last season: Florida won only meeting, second game cancelled
- Up next: Carolina at Florida, Saturday, 7
- Panthers This Week — Monday: Florida Panthers 3, Dallas Stars 1; Wednesday: Dallas Stars 3, Florida Panthers 0; Thursday: Dallas, 7; Saturday: Carolina, 7
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINES
23 Carter Verhaeghe — 16 Sasha Barkov — 91 Anthony Duclair
11 Jonathan Huberdeau — 21 Alex Wennberg — 70 Patric Hornqvist
77 Frank Vatrano —27 Eetu Luostarinen — 10 Brett Connolly
94 Ryan Lomberg — 83 Juho Lammikko — 19 Mason Marchment
52 MacKenzie Weegar — 5 Aaron Ekblad
3 Keith Yandle — 6 Anton Stralman
44 Kevin Connauton — 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
60 Chris Driedger
Scratches: F Vinnie Hinostroza, D Noah Juulsen
Injured: D Gustav Forsling (undisclosed); D Markus Nutivaara (upper body); F Noel Acciari (upper body)
Taxi squad: D Riley Stillman, F Grigori Denisenko, F Owen Tippett, G Philippe Desrosiers
Florida power play (14/52 26.9% — 8th in NHL)
Florida penalty kill (43/53 81.1% — 11th in NHL)
PP1: Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Patric Hornqvist, Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle
PP2: Alex Wennberg, Frank Vatrano, Anthony Duclair, Carter Verhaeghe, Anton Stralman
PROJECTED DALLAS STARS LINES
25 Joel Kiviranta — 18 Jason Dickinson — 16 Joe Pavelski
14 Jamie Benn — 12 Radek Faksa — 34 Denis Gurianov
11 Andrew Cogliano — 49 Rhett Gardner — 15 Blake Comeau
21 Jason Robertson — 37 Justin Dowling — 17 Nick Caamano
23 Esa Lindell — 3 John Klingberg
2 Jamie Oleksiak — 4 Miro Heiskanen
5 Andrei Sekera — 13 Mark Pysyk
29 Jake Oettinger
35 Anton Khudobin
Dallas power play (16/53 30.2% — 5th in NHL)
Dallas penalty kill (45/56 80.4% — 14th in NHL)
PP1: Joe Pavelski, Rhett Gardner, Jamie Benn, John Klingberg, Denis Gurianov
PP2: Radek Faksa, Jason Robertson, Justin Dowling, Miro Heiskanen, Joel Kiviranta