Forward Marcus Johansson will be a healthy scratch for Saturday night’s game against the Florida Panthers at Verizon Center after playing among the top six forwards for each of the last two games.
“We need more execution and didn’t get enough in Pittsburgh,” coach Adam Oates said after Saturday morning’s optional skate.
Johansson, in his third NHL season, scored a power play goal against Toronto on Feb. 5. But he has only four shots on goal in nine games and is a team-worst minus-7.
“I think his confidence might be one of the problems,” Oates said.
Defenseman Tom Poti (upper-body injury) will take warm-ups and is a game-time decision, Oates said. Defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who played against Pittsburgh on Feb. 7, is expected to be a healthy scratch.
Forward Brooks Laich (groin) is expected to be cleared for contact soon, coach Adam Oates said Saturday morning. He sat in on special teams meetings following the team’s optional morning skate.
“Some of our drills have a little bit of body contact, and really for him to let loose and bump guys, it’s not major hits or anything like that, but it’s still a process,” Oates said.
Laich hasn’t played this season. He has been skating with the team since Jan. 31 and was on the ice Saturday morning.