Latest Panther Updates: HC Paul Maurice Provides Crucial Update on Another Key Player Following Scary Incident in Game 2…

INJURY: Barkov ‘Felt Better Today’ After High Hit in Game 2 Win Over Oilers

The Florida Panthers are optimistic about Aleksander Barkov’s condition after the star center sustained a high hit during their 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday at Amerant Bank Arena.

Following the team’s recovery session at the Baptist Health IcePlex on Tuesday, head coach Paul Maurice shared that the Panthers are monitoring their captain’s recovery on a day-by-day basis.

“He came in today and wasn’t worse,” Maurice said. “That’s a really good thing. The assessment will be tomorrow. If he continues to progress, we should be in good shape.”

Barkov, a Selke Trophy winner and Conn Smythe contender for his exceptional playoff performance, missed the last 9:28 of Game 2 after being hit in the head by Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl while playing the puck along the wall in Florida’s zone.


After staying down on the ice for a while, Barkov eventually skated to the locker room on his own.

Despite Draisaitl leaving his feet and making direct contact with Barkov’s head, he received only a two-minute minor penalty for roughing. The Panthers responded by letting their play speak for them, with Evan Rodrigues scoring on the ensuing power play to extend Florida’s lead to 3-1.

Post-game, the Panthers refrained from commenting on the headshot.

Awaiting any supplemental discipline from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety before Game 3, Maurice indicated that the Panthers are ready to move past the incident.

“The refs called a penalty on the ice,” Maurice said. “The league reviews just about every single hit. They’ll make their decision and then we’re not dealing with that anymore today.”

Regarding Barkov, who has logged 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) and a team-high 26 takeaways while averaging 21:31 of ice time over 19 playoff games, the Panthers are hopeful for more positive news on Wednesday before flying to Edmonton.

“We had some things that needed to be looked at today that got looked at, so there’s nothing sinister there [with the injury],” Maurice said. “He kind of passed that. He felt better today. Feels good. But you’ve got to give it another 24 hours to make sure that he feels strong.”

In other injury updates, defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forward Eetu Luostarinen are both considered fine after briefly exiting in the first period of Game 2 following two scary collisions.

“We’re good,” Maurice said of their status moving forward.

With an opportunity to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, the Panthers will face the Oilers in Game 3 at Rogers Place on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

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