Status of Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov up in the air for Game 3 against Oilers

Photo credit:Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
1 month ago
It remains unclear whether Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov will be good to go for Game 3 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final after suffering an apparent injury as a result of a high hit by Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on Monday.
Barkov, 28, left Game 2 of the series after taking Draisaitl’s right elbow to his jaw on the hit, which occurred at the 10:32 mark of the third period at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida. Draisaitl was assessed a two-minute minor penalty on the play.
Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues scored on the ensuing power play to give the hosts a 3-1 lead, but Barkov did not return to the game for the rest of regulation time. The Panthers ended up holding on for a 4-1 win to take a 2-0 series lead.
Asked about his captain immediately after the game, Panthers head coach Paul Maurice was unable to provide any updates. On Tuesday afternoon, he was slightly more forthcoming, telling reporters that Barkov “wasn’t worse” after having a night to sleep on his injury and noting that he’ll be assessed for real on Wednesday.
Here’s a breakdown of Maurice’s key quotes, courtesy of Panthers senior digital content manager Jameson Olive:
Barkov is the reigning Frank J. Selke Trophy winner as the NHL’s top defensive forward and has also played a key offensive role in the Panthers reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive year, posting 19 points in 19 games in these playoffs. He racked up a pair of assists in Florida’s 3-0 win over the Oilers in Game 1 of this year’s Final.
Rodrigues scored twice and Niko Mikkola and Aaron Ekblad both added goals of their own as the Panthers overcame an early 1-0 deficit to win Monday’s Game 2 by a 4-1 final. Mattias Ekholm scored the lone goal of the game (and, thus far, the series) for the Oilers in the first period.
Whether Draisaitl will face any supplemental discipline for his hit on Barkov remains to be seen. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has not made any public indications one way or another as of Tuesday morning, but a report from TVA’s Renaud Lavoie indicated there wouldn’t be any. The two teams combined for 57 minutes in penalties in Monday’s chippy playoff game in Florida.
With two days to rest and recover, the Panthers and Oilers will return to action for Game 3 of the series at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thursday evening.

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