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Kulikov to make season debut for Panthers versus Sens

Jan 21, 2013, 12:58 PM EDT

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Dmitry Kulikov #7 of the Florida Panthers skates against the New Jersey Devils in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on April 19, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils shutout the Panthers 4-0.
(April 18, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Armed with a new contract, Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is all set to make his season debut tonight in Ottawa.

Last week, the 22-year-old signed a two-year, $5 million deal, rewarding the 14th overall pick in the 2009 draft for a 2011-12 season that saw him score 28 points (4 G, 24 A) in 58 games.

Kulikov spent the NHL lockout with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the KHL. He missed the Panthers’ season opener on Saturday — a 5-1 victory over Carolina — due to jet lag.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played in an NHL game, so I’m excited to help the team,” he said, per the Sun Sentinel.

The Panthers are also expected to get defenseman Mike Weaver (concussions symptoms) back tonight.

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