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Slumping Panthers try a minor reshuffling

CORAL SPRINGS — When a team has lost nine of 12, as the Panthers have, change is certainly warranted in quest of a winning recipe.

Calling up forwards Connor Brickley and Logan Shaw and sending fellow rookies Rocco Grimaldi and Garrett Wilson to Portland of the AHL on Wednesday didn't constitute a drastic shakeup. The Panthers are hoping a minor reshuffling will bring immediate results like the Lightning got when it reached into its minor-league system recently.

After the Panthers won a home-and-home series against the Lightning, bolstered by several additions from their AHL affiliate Syracuse, posted impressive wins against the Rangers and Ducks. The Panthers were beaten by both of those teams amid the current three-game losing streak.

"Right now we're bringing up some guys, and hopefully that's going to give us a little spark," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said of Brickley and Shaw. "They're competitive guys; they work hard, they're good skaters.

"I'm not blaming the other guys. It's just sometimes when you're not winning, not playing as well as you want, you want to make some changes. I think we've been inconsistent over the last five or six games."

In search of more scoring punch, Gallant also juggled the top two lines with Brandon Pirri skating on the top trio Wednesday with Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr.

"He's a sniper, and he hopefully gets some shots up there, chances to score," Gallant said of Pirri, a streaky scorer who has yet to get untracked with only three goals in 21 games.

The hope is Jonathan Huberdeau will find chemistry on the second line with Nick Bjugstad and Jussi Jokinen, whom he has played with in the past.

"Trying to get a little more balance and wake it up a little bit," Gallant said. "Our top lines are playing well, but if you're going to win in this league you need four lines going consistently, and we haven't got that a whole lot."

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Canadiens general manager and executive vice president Marc Bergevin, who has turned around the team and led it to the playoffs the past three seasons, signed a multiyear extension through the 2021-22 season. The Canadiens have posted a 141-68-25 record under Bergevin, ranking third in the NHL in wins over that span. Bergevin, a 50-year-old Montreal native, got several core players under long-term contracts. He signed goaltender Carey Price to a six-year, $39 million deal shortly after taking over in 2012, and agreed to an eight-year, $72 million deal with defenseman P.K Subban before the 2014-15 season. Forward Brendan Gallagher is in the first year of a six-year, $22.5 million contract, and defenseman Jeff Petry was lured back to Montreal with a six-year, $33 million deal after Bergevin acquired him from Edmonton at last season's trade deadline. … Price exited after the second period of Wednesday's late game against the Rangers. No reason was given.

Slumping Panthers try a minor reshuffling 11/25/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 25, 2015 9:34pm]
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