SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers have had a few days off to prepare for Thursday night’s game against the visiting Washington Capitals — and it looks like they have needed it.
The Panthers were so depleted at Monday’s practice in Coral Springs that it didn’t matter what the lines looked like.
On Wednesday, there was a little more clarity.
Florida was without Sam Bennett, Radko Gudas and Markus Nutivaara.
According to interim coach Andrew Brunette, those three have not been ruled out for Thursday’s game but they are not expected to play.
With Bennett out, Sam Reinhart moved up to center the second line as Anton Lundell was back and took his place centering the third.
That meant Eetu Luostarinen, who has done such a good job up-and-down the lineup, will take over the fourth line.
On Tuesday, Florida recalled Maxim Mamin and Chase Priskie from AHL Charlotte — and it looks like both players could be in Thursday.
Mamin was working on the third line in place of Reinhart and Priskie was with Kevin Connauton on the third defensive pairing.
Priskie, the hockey pride of Pembroke Pines, will play on Thursday and ecome the first South Florida player to suit up for his hometown Panthers.
Sergei Bobrovsky, 6-0 this season, will start in net.
Washington has also had a few days off and the Caps have spent that time enjoying all that Fort Lauderdale Beach has to offer.
The Capitals started their season 5-0-3 but sustained their first regulation loss Monday night in Tampa.
Florida, of course, started its season 8-0 and suffered its first loss 3-2 in a shootout at Boston on Saturday night.
Jonathan Huberdeau (0-1, 1) skated in his 600th NHL game and with an assist, extended his point streak to six games (3-6, 9).
Sasha Barkov recorded a goal for the second consecutive game and extended his point streak to four games (3-2, 5).
Anthony Duclair also has a four-game point streak going with three goals and four points in those games.
NEWS, NOTES & QUOTES
Florida has started its season with a nine-game point streak which ranks as the team’s second longest such streak in its history.
The 1996-97 Panthers started their season with a 12-game point streak (8-0, 4 ties) from Oct. 5-30. That is tied for the seventh-longest point streak to start a season in NHL history.
The Panthers’ current streak is tied for their third-longest point streak at any point in a season.
— The Panthers are not only 5-0 in Sunrise this season, but have won their past nine regular season games at home.
In their five games at FLA Live Arena this season, Florida has not scored fewer than four goals in a game and it has outscored opponents 23-10.
Florida’s 23 goals at home led the league in October.
— This is the first meeting between Florida and Washington since the 2019-20 season.
Although the Capitals have traditionally fared well against the Panthers, since 2015-16, Florida is 8-4-2 record against Washington.
— “He’s an unbelievable player. I mean, he’s just always great. The great ones, they just find a way to keep going. I watch football every Sunday and you see Tom Brady and Alex is kind of carrying that over. It’s amazing what he’s done on the power play. Everybody in the league, everyone on TV, every fan knows what happens when he gets it. He shoots it. Nothing surprises me with him anymore.” — Florida coach Andrew Brunette on 36-year-old Alex Ovechkin, who has nine goals and 15 points in nine games this season.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
WASHINGTON CAPITALS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: WQAM 560-AM
- Last season: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Washington leads 66-42-11, 9 ties
- Odds via Bovada.lv: Florida (PL -1.5 +170) — (ML -145) — U/O 6
- Up next: Carolina at Florida, Saturday, 6; Philadelphia at Washington, Saturday, Thursday, 7
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 13 Sam Reinhart // 74 Owen Tippett
17 Mason Marchment // 15 Anton Lundell // 98 Maxim Mamin
77 Frank Vatrano // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
42 Gus Forsling // 62 Brandon Montour
44 Kevin Connauton // 22 Chase Priskie
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
30 Spencer Knight
Scratched: Ryan Lomberg
Injured: Noel Acciari (IR), Olli Juolevi (IR), Joe Thornton (IR), Markus Nutivaara (IR), Sam Bennett, Radko Gudas
PROJECTED WASHINGTON CAPITALS LINEUP
8 Alex Ovechkin // 92 Evgeny Kuznetsov // 43 Tom Wilson
39 Anthony Mantha // 24 Connor McMichael // 10 Daniel Sprong
62 Carl Hagelin // 20 Lars Eller // 21 Garnet Hathaway
49 Brett Leason // 26 Nic Dowd // 72 Conor Sheary
42 martin Fehervary // 72 John Carlson
9 Dmitri Orlov // 3 Nick Jensen
57 Trevor van Riemsdyk // 2 Justin Schultz
30 Ilya Samsonov
41 Vitek Vanecek