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Florida Panthers Without Dmitry Kulikov, Recall Tyson Strachan ... Marco Sturm Skating with Team, Out v Flyers

StrachanThe Panthers had gone all season without losing a defenseman to injury, the only position on the team in which the team hadn't needed to go to its minor league team for a replacement.

That streak is over.

With Ed Jovanovski out with a broken hand suffered last Monday and Dmitry Kulikov suffering an undisclosed injury Saturday, the Panthers need to find defensive help from its AHL affiliate in San Antonio.

Tyson Strachan was recalled Monday afternoon.  

“It's just the nature of the game,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. “Things seem to come in bunches and we'll put a quality group on the ice for Philadelphia and then we'll have some good rest time.''

The Panthers have plenty of defensive options these days. Both Strachan and Nolan Yonkman have NHL experience as Strachan has played in 67 games with the Blues and Yonkman has played in 66 games with Phoenix and Washington. 

Colby Robak, 21, is San Antonio's top offensive scorer from the blueline, earning AHL All-Star honors with five goals with 19 assists. Robak is also tied for the team lead with a plus-11 rating. Robak has yet to play in an NHL game. 

“Those three have really stood out on a consistent basis,'' Dineen said. “I just want to put out there what we feel is the best choice and move forward.''

Kulikov isn't expected to miss much more than Tuesday's game against the Flyers. The Panthers will not workout this week because of the All-Star break so Kulikov may be back next week. Strachan is expected to be sent back to San Antonio for its weekend series against Texas and Houston. 

Dineen said Kulikov got hurt in Saturday's game but played through it. Kulikov played eight shifts in the third period of Florida's 4-3 shootout win in Winnipeg, then three in overtime.

“He had a confrontation in Winnipeg but continued to play through the game,'' Dineen said. “We felt the right steps were to keep him off the ice. We'll know more [Tuesday].'' 

() Forward Marco Sturm has been out of the lineup since being struck on the side of the head by an errant puck while sitting on the bench on Dec. 20. Sturm has spent the past few weeks skating and joined the team for its final workout before the week long break.

Although Sturm has plans to take some time off, he won't stay off the ice too long as he hopes to return next week as the Panthers kickoff a run of four straight divisional games on Feb. 1 against the Capitals.

“I've been feeling good out there and it was good to get back out with the guys,'' Sturm said. 

() Jack Skille played the past two games after missing 13 games with a shoulder injury suffered Dec. 16. Dineen held Skille out of Monday's practice and he's unlikely to play Tuesday.

“I don't want him in the lineup unless he can play 100 percent,'' Dineen said.

() The Panthers snapped an eight-game road losing streak with Saturday's win. The team appeared to be a lot looser on Monday. The Panthers held their final full practice before the All-Star break on Monday. 

“One thing that I haven't faulted is on is our work ethic,'' Dineen said. “To come out with a emotional win is a good way to start us head into the All-Star break. We want to have really good energy against a quality Flyers team.'' 

TUESDAY: FLYERS AT PANTHERS 

SunnyWhen, Where: 7:30 p.m.; BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise

TV/Radio: FSN; WFTL-640

The series: Flyers lead 41-26-7

The game: This is just the second meeting between the two teams this season with the Flyers winning 3-2 in Sunrise on Nov. 13. The Panthers snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Winnipeg 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday but have still dropped 10 of the past 14. The Flyers have lost two of their past three games. 

 

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