Florida Panthers (3-9-4) at Ottawa Senators (6-6-4)
The Florida Panthers are in Ottawa today to take on the Senators in a 2:00 p.m. matinee game. Today’s game will be the first of four meetings between the newly minted Atlantic Division rivals.
The Senators have been a slight disappointment so far this season and their 16 points are good for sixth in the Atlantic Division. Many around the league, including myself, expected the Sens to be one of the leagues best teams and a possible Stanley Cup contender. Former Panther Craig Anderson is day-to-day with an injury and it looks like young Robin Lehner will get the start today against Florida. Lehner, 22, made 33 saves in his last start, a 4-1 Senators victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The Sens are led by new addition Bobby Ryan (9 goals, 9 assists) and the electric Erik Karlsson (6 goals, 11 assists).
The big story in the game today is that it will be the first game since the Panthers fired coaches Kevin Dineen, Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsay, replacing them with Peter Horachek, John Madden and Brian Skrudland. Horachek had been the head coach of the Panthers minor league affiliate the San Antonio Rampage. He joined the organization during the off-season after nine years as an assistant with the Nashville Predators. The head coaching job with the Panthers is his first NHL head coaching gig.
Tim Thomas will be back in the net for Florida after missing the last six games with a lower body injury, according to George Richards.
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) November 8, 2013
Thomas rejoining the lineup is one of a couple roster changes taking place. It was announced yesterday that Jesse Winchester will receive a three game suspension for his hit Thursday on Chris Kelly against the Bruins so he will be out of the lineup today. Also the Panthers placed defenseman Ryan Whitney on waivers yesterday. All this means, the Panthers will probably be sending a goalie to San Antonio, either Clemmensen or Markstrom, and calling up a defenseman and forward to replace Whitney and Winchester respectively.