The Panthers third line of Radek Dvorak, Marty Reasoner and Cory Stillman has heard the jokes about their age. Only, if coach Pete DeBoer is the one delivering the cracks, he does so with the utmost respect.
The third line – which still has yet to earn a full-time nickname – has been Florida’s most consistent and productive through the first month of the season. The trio, which boasts a combined 43 NHL seasons and 2,663 games played, have scored six goals with nine assists and have been called upon by DeBoer to do just about everything.
“You look at their point totals, but it’s not just that. They’re a real momentum line for us and have grabbed hold of that role,’’ said DeBoer, whose team plays host to Atlanta on Wednesday.
“Those are three veterans out there. They are safe, they’re going to make the right play with the puck. They have a lot of composure. That’s a lot of games out there. You feel comfortable putting them out on the ice.’’
Reasoner will get to face some old friends on Wednesday as he spent the past two seasons with the Thrashers. Reasoner scored four goals in 80 games with Atlanta last year; in nine games with the Panthers, he has two goals and five assists.
Stillman says knowing what his role is and working almost exclusively with the same linemates brings a certain comfort level to his game.
DeBoer and the Panthers haven’t had a line they could rely on to score timely goals or settle things down since Dvorak, Ville Peltonen and Gregory Cambell teamed up in 2008-09. Those three players combined for 40 goals that season.
“We jumped in and have played well,’’ said Stillman, who has a goal and three assists. “We’re getting chances and not giving them up. We’ve made some plays, but we have to cash in our opportunities. We’re chipping in when we can. I know the role I’m playing here and I like it.’’
Center Stephen Weiss was back at practice after missing Saturday’s game at Montreal after rolling his ankle playing a form of soccer with teammates prior to the morning skate. Weiss missed practice on Monday – and then endured two hours of oral surgery after taking a puck to the face on Oct. 23.
DeBoer said Weiss lost two additional teeth during the dental procedure, although Weiss said he lost only one. He does, however, expect to lose more teeth when he returns for follow-up work next week.
Weiss’ mouth was visibly swollen and he complained of being nauseous after the practice. He’s questionable for Wednesday.
“He’s moving around fine and is through the ankle injury,’’ DeBoer said. “But he had major dental surgery so we wanted to keep him out of the way.’’