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Florida Panthers Pregame: Eetu Luostarinen playing next man up



Florida panthers
Eetu Luostarinen has helped keep the Florida Panthers’ third line going despite the absence of injured center Anton Lundell. — Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

With Anton Lundell sidelined with a lower-body injury, the Florida Panthers have had to play ‘Next Man Up’ with their forward core during their West Coast road trip.

Eetu Luostarinen has been the latest player to step in and help the Panthers not skip a beat.

Usually playing on the fourth line with Ryan Lomberg and Patric Hornqvist, Luostarinen has been given extra responsibility and stepped into centering the third line since Lundell’s departure last Monday.

Since then, he has stuck like glue in between Mason Marchment and Sam Reinhart.

“I love him, he’s a great guy and a great player. He’s really good in the defensive zone and he can make plays in the offensive zone,” Marchment said.

“I just try to get open for a guy like that. He’s a great passer and he sees the ice very well.”

Luostarinen has a goal and an assist in five games while ranking top-10 on the team in average time-on-ice per game, playing 15:35 per night.

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He also plays a pivotal role on the penalty kill, ranking second among Panthers forwards with 3:05 shorthanded minutes per game since Lundell’s injury.

“He’s a smart player,” Jonathan Huberdeau said. “He plays penalty kill, he’s the kind of guy who is always in the right position defensively and he has a lot of poise with the puck too. He can make some nice plays and he has really stepped up his game.”

Lundell and Lomberg both did not make the trip west and likely won’t join the team until practice this coming week.

Luostarinen will continue to play a bigger role.

“That’s the beauty of our lineup: We have guys capable of stepping up when others go down,” Reinhart said. “I don’t think he’s needed to change up too much of his game to be able to fill that role.

“The presence he has in the center of the ice is something you want out of a centerman and it’s been a joy to play with him.”

Morning Skate Updates

  • Sergei Bobrovsky may be a game-time decision. He missed Tuesday’s game with a flu-like illness. He has skated the past two days.
  • Petteri Lindbohm will play for the fourth consecutive game, again drawing into the lineup over Lucas Carlsson.
  • Maxim Mamin will play after Frank Vatrano was traded to the New York Rangers on Wednesday. He will return to the top line with Sasha Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe.
  • The Panthers are expected to call up at least one forward from Charlotte before Friday’s game in Anaheim — either Aleksi Heponiemi, Zac Dalpe or Owen Tippett.
  • Tippett, of course, is the center of trade rumors involving the Panthers and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux. He is not expected to play for the Checkers tonight against Providence. Which could mean he’s headed to Anaheim — or not.



  • When: Thursday, 10:30 p.m.
  • Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas 
  • Tickets: CLICK HERE
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM, SiriusXM
  • Draft Kings odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-170); Puck line (-1.5, +145); Over/Under 6.5 (-110/-110)
  • Last season: Did not play
  • All-time regular season series: Vegas leads 4-2-1
  • Season Series — Florida leads 1-0: @Florida 4, Vegas 1 (Jan. 27)


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