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GameDay 41: Lineups, Betting Odds for Panthers at Canucks

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Florida Panthers defenseman Matt Kiersted made the long flight to Edmonton from Charlotte — with a stop in Toronto, of course — to make it in time to play Thursday night. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

The Florida Panthers did not have time to enjoy — nor to breakdown their problems — from Thursday night’s win in Edmonton as they visit the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.

Before beating the Oilers 6-0 on Thursday, the team place defenseman Olli Juolevi on injured reserve — spoiling his return to Vancouver where he was the fifth overall pick of the Canucks in 2016.

Juolevi was replaced in the lineup by Matt Kiersted — who had to do some flying to get to Edmonton in time.

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When the Panthers announced their new AHL team would be a bit closer to South Florida, they really were not expecting to be in western Canada when they needed a callup.

Luckily, the Charlotte airport has numerous flights to Toronto.

According to Florida coach Andrew Brunette, Juolevi sustained a minor lower body injury Tuesday night against Calgary.

As a precaution, Kiersted was flown from Charlotte to Toronto — probably on Wednesday giving him time to get through customs without threat of missing a connecting flight — where he awaited the Panthers’ call.

Brunette talked about Juolevi being in the lineup following Thursday’s morning skate, but the injury flared up.

Kiersted hopped a flight to Edmonton.

Probably WestJet. Maybe Air Canada.

Regardless, the rookie got to Edmonton in time to make another good impression on the Panthers.

Kiersted, a highly-coveted collegiate free agent who signed with Florida last spring and played down the stretch, saw a lot of action Thursday.

The rookie played 19 shifts, had a nice role on the penalty kill — and saved a goal from going in by star Leon Draisaitl early in the game.

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“He flew this morning and we threw him in,” Brunette said. “Really good for him. That’s a great experience and really shows his maturity level to be able to play a game like that after flying in from Toronto today. Really happy for him.”

With Juolevi now out for the next few games, Kiersted will get a chance to show a little more.

SHORTHANDED CANUCKS

The Vancouver Canucks are in a bit of a Covid mess as well as the Canucks get ready to play their first home game since Dec. 14.

On Thursday night, the league announced that leading scorer JT Miller (39 points) and starting goalie Thatcher Demko were out due to Covid.

The Canucks were already missing captain Bo Horvat, forward Conor Garland and backup goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Michael DiPietro was recalled from the AHL and may start Friday night although it sounds as if Spencer Martin is the logical and probable choice.

FRIDAY UPDATE

Brunette said that Sam Bennett is dealing with a minor lower body concern which allows Joe Thornton to get back into the lineup for the first time since Jan. 8.

Thornton skated in Vancouver on Friday morning and is expected to take over the third line — we think Anton Lundell moves up between Jonathan Huberdeau and Anthony Duclair.

Spencer Knight will be in net.

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS AT VANCOUVER CANUCKS

PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP

23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart

11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 15 Anton Lundell // 10 Anthony Duclair

17 Mason Marchment // 19 Joe Thornton // 74 Owen Tippett

94 Ryan Lomberg // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 98 Maxim Mamin

52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad

8 Matt Kiersted // 62 Brandon Montour

32 Lucas Carlsson // 7 Radko Gudas

30 Spencer Knight

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Frank Vatrano

Taxi squad: Evan Fitzpatrick, Aleksi Heponiemi

Injured: Noel Acciari (LTIR), Markus Nutivaara (LTIR), Olli Juolevi (IR), Patric Hornqvist  (d2d), Sam Bennett (d2d)

Covid Protocol: Jonas Johansson, Gus Forsling

PROJECTED VANCOUVER CANUCKS LINEUP

70 Tanner Pearson // 40 Elias Pettersson // 6 Brock Boeser

92 Vasily Podkolzin // 18 Jason Dickinson // 21 Nils Hoglander

64 Tyler Motte // 91 Juho Lammikko // 15 Matthew Highmore

73 Justin Dowling // 39 Alex Chiasson// 95 Justin Bailey

23 Oliver Ekman-Larsson // 57 Tyler Myers

43 Quinn Hughes // 5 Tucker Poolman

44 Kyle Burroughs // 2 Luke Schenn

30 Spencer Martin

75 Michael DiPietro

Vancouver Canucks lines courtesy DailyFaceoff.com

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