News: Coach Gerard Gallant said that the upper-body injury suffered by Roberto Luongo in Wednesday's win over the Hurricanes isn't considered serious, George Richards of the Miami Herald reports. Analysis: While the Panthers are viewing Roberto Luongo as day-to-day after he was reevaluated Thursday morning, he's already been ruled out for Friday's game against the Senators and could be forced to miss a few more contests beyond that. The Panthers will go with Al Montoya, who preserved Luongo's shutout bid in relief Wednesday, as their primary netminder for the time being, with the newly-recalled Dan Ellis slotting in as his backup.
News: Scottie Upshall (leg) was placed on injured reserve Thursday. Analysis: The Panthers made the move in order to free up a roster spot for goalie Dan Ellis, who was recalled from AHL San Antonio in the wake of Roberto Luongo suffering an injury Wednesday night. In addition to placing Scottie Upshall on IR, the Panthers also pushed his estimated return timetable back from one week to two weeks, according to Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Look for him to return to action around mid-December.
News: Dan Ellis was recalled from AHL San Antonio on Thursday, George Richards of the Miami Herald reports. Analysis: With Roberto Luongo going down with an upper-body injury Wednesday night, Dan Ellis will join the Panthers to serve as the backup behind Al Montoya for at least Friday's game against the Senators. The Panthers have indicated Luongo's injury isn't considered serious, so Ellis' stay with the parent club doesn't seem likely to be long. Ellis went 8-4 with a 2.13 GAA and .918 save percentage over 12 games with San Antonio.
News: Justin Williams stayed hot Wednesday against the Wild, finding the net on one of his two shots on goal. Analysis: After producing a mere four points over his first 16 games, Justin Williams has since cobbled together a six-game point streak, during which he's provided three goals and four assists. The surge in production has allowed him to keep pace with last season's 43-point showing (19 goals, 24 assists), which figures to be close to the ceiling for his scoring again.
News: Mike Richards tallied his first game-winning goal of the season in Wednesday's victory over the Wild. Analysis: Mike Richards only has a modest four goals in 23 games on the season, but even that level of production might be a little unsustainable. He's currently sitting on a 15.4 shooting percentage for the season, over four points above his career mark. The former 80-point scorer has seen his production essentially get cut in half since joining Los Angeles three seasons ago, and his point totals may only dip further in 2014-15.
News: Alex Goligoski (illness) was back at practice Thursday, NHL.com's Mark Stepneski reports. Analysis: As anticipated, the illness only kept Alex Goligoski out for one day of practice. He looks like a pretty safe bet to play Friday against the Wild.
News: David Warsofsky (groin) skated prior to Thursday's practice. Analysis: While both David Warsofsky and Zdeno Chara (ankle) worked out on their own rather than with the team's healthy skaters, their presence on the ice could allow them to join the rest of the team for practice perhaps at some point next week. Warsofsky is about at the midway point of the two-to-four week recovery timetable he was given back on Nov. 9.
News: Antti Niemi allowed one goal on 18 shots in Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the visiting Flames. The second goal was an empty netter. Analysis: That's four straight losses for the Finnish netminder, although this one can be chalked up to a lack of goal support from the Sharks offense. Despite traditionally being a workhorse who usually piles up his fair share of wins, Antti Niemi is just 7-7-3 on the season with a .917 save percentage and 2.49 GAA, making him one of the weaker options among the league's number one netminders.
News: Liam O'Brien (lower body) surprisingly returned to action Wednesday versus the Islanders, delivering three hits and one shot attempt over his 6:42 of ice time. Analysis: It seemed implied during morning skate that Liam O'Brien would sit out after he worked as extra during line rushes, but coach Barry Trotz evidently felt he was ready to go. The fourth liner missed the Caps' previous five games while dealing with the lower-body injury.
News: Jiri Hudler scored the game's both goals in Wednesday's 2-0 road win over the Sharks. Analysis: Jiri Hudler is sizzling, as the goals were his fifth and sixth points in the last five games. He's now quietly posted 20 points -- split equally between assists and goals (10 each) -- in 23 games this season.