Feb 28, 2012, 12:43 PM EDT
The loss is a big one for the Panthers. Versteeg is their go-to guy up front — leading the team in goals (22), points (49) and game-winning goals (five) — and they’re about to embark on a crucial stretch. With 70 points and sitting atop the Southeast Division, Florida’s:
— In Toronto on Tuesday to face the 10th-place Leafs (65 points).
— In Winnipeg on Thursday to face the eighth-place Jets (68 points).
— At home Saturday against Nashville.
— At home Sunday against seventh-place Ottawa (74 points).
The hope is Versteeg will return to the lineup for Sunday, though reports suggest the injury could keep him out next week as well. As for replacements: John Madden will draw in while Tomas Kopecky moves up to center the first line between Tomas Fleischmann and Wojtek Wolski.
- Bruins sign three — Hayes, Connolly, and DeFazio 10
- Babcock expects Kadri to be ‘an elite player’ 14
- No expansion bid expected from Kansas City 32
- Leafs sign Matthias — one year, $2.3 million 17
- Report: Kopitar, Kings in ‘early stages of negotiations’ for extension 12
- Arbitration filed: Holtby, Nyquist & Stepan highlight list released by NHLPA 13
- Report: Plotnikov paid $500K to get out of KHL contract 14
- Philadelphia signs ’15 first rounder Provorov 12
- Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets 22
- Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal 25