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Tomas Fleischmann Gets 'Mojo' Back ... Tomas Kopecky Out for Now

FleischmannTomas Fleischmann says playing hockey these days makes him “feel like a little kid.’’

And it’s the Panthers who are reaping the benefits.

“I basically got my mojo back,’’ he said.

Fleischmann has been one of Florida’s biggest offensive threats of late – save for the surprising and surging Jason Garrison – as he has four goals and three assists in a five-game scoring streak  and is tied for third on the team with 10 points through the first 11 games this season.

On Monday, Fleischmann brought the Panthers back with a pair of third period goals. Had it not been for a controversial late goal by the visiting Jets, Fleischmann’s goals may had been enough to lift Florida to its seventh win to start the season.

“I’m playing to win the games,’’ Fleischmann said. “Playing on the first line, you expect the points from us. This is how I played in junior, the American league. I haven’t played like this all the time, but now I’m up on the first line and it always goes like that. Hopefully it keeps going like this.’’

His start is in direct contrast to the beginning of the 2010-11 season with the Washington Capitals. Fleischmann was expected to be a big part of the Capitals offense last season, but both he and the Caps got off to a slow start. Coach Bruce Boudreau wasn’t a big fan of Fleischmann’s play and his ice time dwindled.

Last Nov. 30, Fleischmann was traded to Colorado. The move west rejuvenated Fleischmann’s game as he scored 21 points in 22 games for the Avs. Then, on Jan. 20, Fleischmann’s season came to an end as blood clots were discovered in both his lungs. Fleischmann had a similar scare the year before when he suffered from deep vein thrombosis.

After missing the last three months of the season, Fleischmann became a free agent and signed a four-year deal with the Panthers.

Florida is confident Fleischmann’s condition is under control as he’s been cleared by numerous medical specialists. Since leaving Washington, Fleischmann has scored 31 points in his past 33 games with the Avs and Panthers.

“These things happen for a reason, that’s what I think,’’ Fleischmann said. “I got stronger in the offseason because I hadn’t played. Those things happen. It’s too bad things worked out like but there’s nothing I can do about it.’’

Fleischmann is enjoying himself with the new-look Panthers and looks right at home playing alongside linemates Stephen Weiss and Kris Versteeg. Florida’s top line has played together since the final week of training camp and is Florida’s top power play line as well.

The trio has combined for half of Florida’s 28 goals.


Winger Tomas Kopecky left Monday’s game after taking a hit to the knee by Winnipeg’s Zach Bogosian at the end of overtime.  Bogosian was assessed two minutes for kneeing but the Panthers didn’t get the late power play since time expired.

Kopecky missed Tuesday’s practice and could miss Thursday’s reunion game against the Blackhawks. Sean Bergenheim, out for the past two weeks, worked out Tuesday and could take Kopecky’s slot in the lineup.

“He took a nasty hit at the end of the game and he’ll be evaluated on a day-to-day basis,’’ coach Kevin Dineen said.

Garrison, who has three goals in the past three games, also missed Tuesday’s practice but is expected to be back Wednesday.