Stephen Weiss' long time home inside the Panthers' arena now has a new occupant as Mike Santorelli has moved in.
Santorelli admits it is strange to be in Weiss' old spot at the front of the locker room at BB&T Center but after scoring his first goal of the season Tuesday, he hopes to put down roots in that location.
"Maybe it brought me a little luck,'' said Santorelli, who notched his first NHL goal of the season Tuesday.
"It's a change, but sometimes change is good right? It's nice to get this first goal, it took a little bit, but it's something I haven't been thinking about. I'm just trying to let the game come to me.''
Santorelli, in the final season of a two-year deal, was placed on waivers after training camp but started the season with the Panthers.
A healthy scratch for three of the first five games, Santorelli was sent to AHL San Antonio where he found his scoring touch with two goals and five points in seven games.
"I had a lot of fun down there, played to my strengths,'' said Santorelli, who has played in seven of eight games since being recalled Feb. 19.
-- Shawn Matthias had about as pretty a goal as there is Tuesday as he used the skating and puckhandling skills everyone raved about when he went strong up the middle and went around defenseman Mark Stuart before firing a wrister past Ondrej Pavelec.
"It was just reaction," Matthias said. "When you play like that, you just let your body take over and hope it works. It did. It felt good.''
Said Dineen: “I’ve seen that play out of Shawn before. I know he has that in his bag of tricks. I like when he explodes outside as well and I think that sets up that move. It was a beautiful goal. It’s a nice way to finish off a very strong game. There was a very nice goal by Shawn Matthias, but he had a very well-rounded game as well.”
-- Dineen said he was happy rookie Jacob Markstrom picked up his first victory of the season. Markstrom, Florida's new starter in net, has given up just seven goals in three NHL starts this year.
“That was good for him to get the win,'' Dineen said. "He was a difference-maker. They pushed at different times and I think he responded very well.”
-- The Panthers had originally planned to practice in Coral Springs on Wednesday but decided to leave for Washington a few hours early because of the massive snow storm in the region.
THURSDAY: PANTHERS AT CAPITALS
When, Where: 7 p.m.; Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
TV/Radio: FSNF; WQAM-560
The series: Washington leads 51-46-9
The game: Washington has embarrassed the Panthers so far this season as the Capitals won a home-and-home series by outscoring Florida 11-5. Washington rallied from a 5-3 third-period deficit on Feb. 12 to win 6-5 in overtime. The Caps have won two straight and rallied from a 3-0 hole to beat Boston on Tuesday.