Roles will be reversed Friday night when the Florida Panthers play host to the Dallas Stars in a preseason rematch at FLA Live Arena.
On Wednesday in north Texas, the Stars rolled out a veteran-laden lineup while Florida gave most of their kids a chance to shine.
Friday night, however, the Panthers will very much look like themselves in their fourth preseason game of the exhibition season.
Sasha Barkov will be on the ice, Sergei Bobrovsky and Aaron Ekblad as well. If you can think of a regular member of the Panthers, odds are they’ll be in the lineup Friday night.
“After tonight, we have three games against Tampa and I think everyone will play in two of those games,” coach Joel Quenneville said after Friday’s morning skate. “Some will play in three of them.”
Florida will be without a couple of their veteran players, however.
Joe Thornton has been away from the main practice groups for the past few days although he has been skating; defenseman Gus Forsling was the latest to join the Panthers’ injury list as he did not workout on Friday.
”He got a little bit of a strain yesterday in practice,” Quenneville said.
With Forsling out, the Panthers split up their top defensive pairing with Aaron Ekblad working with Radko Gudas and MacKenzie Weegar going with Brandon Montour.
The Panthers have been privately discussing splitting those two up and Friday could be a glimpse at what those two look like on separate pairings.
One would think if Florida was going to split the two up, it would be Montour with Ekblad and Forsling with Weegar. But, again, this is a good chance to see how Montour and Weegar work together.
On the lineup front, Serron Noel’s big game Wednesday in Dallas gets him another shot at the Stars with it looking like he’ll be on the fourth line. Mason Marchment went hard into the boards during Friday’s skate and may be given the night off. Quenneville did say Noel would play, he just didn’t say where.
As far as the goalies go, Quenneville said Thursday that Bobrovsky would get the opening 40 minutes with Christopher Gibson taking over in the third.
Florida will have three exhibition games remaining next weeks — all against the Tampa Bay Lightning — with Quenneville saying Bobrovsky will get two of them. That leaves one start for rookie Spencer Knight.
— The Panthers made a couple of roster moves on Friday. Zac Dalpe, Noah Juulsen and Sam Montembeault were all placed on waivers and, if they clear, would likely be sent to Florida’s AHL team in Charlotte.
A number of players currently on the Florida roster — such as Grigori Denisenko and Logan Hutsko, for instance — do not need to go through waivers to be assigned to Charlotte.
PANTHERS ON DECK
PRESEASON: DALLAS (0-0-2) AT FLORIDA (3-0-0)
- When: Friday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- 2021 regular season series: Florida won 5-2-1
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM
- Streaming: FloridaPanthers.com
POTENTIAL FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe — 16 Sasha Barkov — 13 Sam Reinhart
11 Jonathan Huberdeau — 9 Sam Bennett — 74 Owen Tippett
77 Frank Vatrano — 27 Eetu Luostarinen — 70 Patric Hornqvist
18 Serron Noel — 55 Noel Acciari — 10 Anthony Duclair
7 Radko Gudas — 5 Aaron Ekblad
52 MacKenzie Weegar — 62 Brandon Montour
65 Markus Nutivaara — 44 Kevin Connauton
72 Sergei Bobrovsky // 31 Christopher Gibson