Paul Maurice was obviously excited to be back in Winnipeg, but is probably just relieved his Florida Panthers will have a full contingent of players tonight against the Jets.
Despite missing Sasha Barkov, Patric Hornqvist, Radko Gudas and Anton Lundell, Maurice thinks Florida’s new additions will bring some energy to the Florida lineup.
Being back in the NHL definitely amps up the expectation for players such as Zac Dalpe, Chris Tierney and Matt Kiersted.
All have NHL experience — Dalpe and Tierney especially — and the chance to get back and help the Panthers is something they are primed to do.
“At 33-years-old, to still get the call is never a bad thing for the career,” said Dalpe, who will play in his 155th NHL game tonight but only his second since signing with Florida as a free agent in 2021.
“I am happy to be a part of the team. It has been a good road trip for them and I just want to bring some energy. It’s cliche, but that is what I am here to do.”
Said Maurice: “They are fired about coming to Winnipeg and playing. We have seen it with Heponiemi scoring the other night and Eric Staal has gone from PTO to non-roster to the third line and he is playing well. You have a whole bunch of guys with an opportunity. They have been working hard and now they’ll play 15 minutes and not 6 or 7.”
Spencer Knight is back in net for the Panthers tonight as he looks for his third consecutive win.
Knight made a total of 67 saves in matching 5-1 wins against Vancouver and Seattle to give the Panthers a little momentum heading into this final game of the road trip.
The Panthers are scheduled to fly home tomorrow morning and play host the Red Wings on Thursday night.
With the team expected to start a little slow in the game coming off a road trip, tonight is a big one for Knight — and the Panthers.
“We had such an unusual set of circumstances, splitting the goaltending for the first 20 games,” Maurice said. “We needed to give one goaltender a chance to get into a bit of a rhythm and his game was right on.
“Sergei’s is not where he wants it to be and we’ll give him time to get it back going. … Spencer feels good and this is his first real opportunity to get a taste of what a No. 1 is like in the National Hockey League.”
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT WINNIPEG JETS
- When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.
- Where: Canada Life Center; Winnipeg, Manitoba
- TV: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-115); Puck line (-1.5, +210); Over/Under 6 (-120/+100)
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets lead 50-31-8, 5 ties
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 9 Sam Bennett // 13 Matthew Tkachuk
21 Nick Cousins // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 13 Sam Reinhart
94 Ryan Lomberg // 12 Eric Staal // 6 Colin White
71 Chris Tierney // 22 Zac Dalpe // 20 Aleksi Heponiemi
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
62 Brandon Montour // 18 Marc Staal
28 Josh Mahura // 3 Matt Kiersted
30 Spencer Knight
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Scratched: Sasha Barkov (illness), Anton Lundell (LBI), Radko Gudas (concussion)
Injured: Anthony Duclair (LTIR-Achilles), Patric Hornqvist (LTIR-UBI)
PROJECTED WINNIPEG JETS LINEUP
91 Cole Perfetti // 55 Mark Scheifele // 26 Blake Wheeler
81 Kyle Connor // 80 Pierre-Luc Dubois // 23 Michael Eyssimont
36 Morgan Barron // 17 Adam Lowry // 8 Saku Meanalanen
71 Axel Jonsson-Fjallby // 19 David Gustafsson // 89 Sam Gagner
44 Josh Morrissey // 7 Dylan DeMelo
5 Brenden Dillon // 4 Neal Pionk
54 Dylan Samberg // 88 Nate Schmidt
37 Connor Hellebuyck
33 David Rittich