The Florida Panthers will not make any changes to their lineup when they take on the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
And coach Paul Maurice is very adamant about that.
Veteran defenseman Marc Staal appeared to be in need of a break after getting beaten multiple times during Florida’s third period breakdown in Vegas on Thursday.
Still, Maurice opted to keep the 36-year-old blueliner in the lineup.
“I have to tell his partner to get five feet closer to him on most nights. They have to work together,” Maurice said.
”We are very aware of the personnel and what they go through and Staal has battled his ass off this year. They went up the pipe on both of them twice. That was a problem. But we’re not replacing him with a player that’s got more compete, more experience and more bounce back.”
The Panthers recently claimed 25-year-old defenseman Casey Fitzgerald off waivers from the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday, but he remains an extra defenseman at least for the time being.
It could be a while before he gets into a game because Maurice does not want to use the right-hander on his off-side.
“The young guy that has a right-hand shot is going in on the right side and he is not going in over Radko Gudas, Aaron Ekblad or Brandon Montour,” he said.
”I am not putting him on his off-side, that would be unfair to him. I am not taking [Josh] Mahura out to jam him in on his off-side. He’ll get his opportunity here when one opens up.”
Montour does have experience playing on the left side — including spending most of last year on Gudas’ left side en route to the Presidents’ Trophy — but that is not a change Maurice is looking to make right now.
— As Maurice said, there is no other lineup changes tonight as Sergei Bobrovsky starts with Alex Lyon backing up.
— Spencer Knight was on the ice for the full practice and could come off IR on Monday.
— Anthony Duclair took part in his first full morning skate since having offseason Achilles surgery but is still weeks away from returning to the lineup.
— Zac Dalpe was placed on waivers on Saturday afternoon. If he is not claimed, he will return to AHL Charlotte where he is captain of the Checkers.
Dalpe has been a healthy scratch in seven of Florida’s past eight games not including tonight.
PANTHERS ON DECK
VANCOUVER CANUCKS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: 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
- Draft Kings odds — Florida favored: MoneyLine (-205); Puck line (-1.5, +115); Over/Under 6.5 (-130/+110)
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Vancouver leads 18-12-4, 6 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Monday at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
15 Anton Lundell // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
21 Nick Cousins // 12 Eric Staal // 27 Eetu Luostarinen
94 Ryan Lomberg // 6 Colin White // 54 Givani Smith
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
18 Marc Staal // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
34 Alex Lyon
Injured: Anthony Duclair (LTIR-Achilles), Patric Hornqvist (LTIR-concussion), Spencer Knight (IR-undisclosed)
Scratched: Casey Fitzgerald, Chris Tierney, Zac Dalpe
PROJECTED VANCOUVER CANUCKS LINEUP
8 Conor Garland // 53 Bo Horvat // 9 J.T. Miller
96 Andrei Kuzmenko // 40 Elias Pettersson // 6 Brock Boeser
65 Ilya Mikheyev // 29 Lane Pederson // 18 Jack Studnicka
81 Dakota Joshua // 20 Curtis Lazar // 7 William Lockwood
23 Oliver Ekman-Larsson // 74 Ethan Bear
43 Quinn Hughes // 2 Luke Schenn
61 Riley Stillman // 57 Tyler Myers
30 Spencer Martin
60 Collin Delia