close
close

Voice News

CA News 2024

searchengine

Panthers’ Aleksander Barkov, who is making progress after being forced out of Game 2 by a hard hit, will be evaluated Wednesday

After leaving Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final with a head injury on Monday night, Aleksander Barkov entered the Florida Panthers’ practice facility Tuesday morning and “wasn’t any worse,” coach Paul Maurice said in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“So that’s very good,” Maurice said. “The real assessment will be tomorrow. But if he continues to make progress, we should be in good shape.”

Barkov left midway through the third period after Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl put the Florida Panthers captain under heavy control.

Around 9:28, with the Panthers leading 2-1, Draisaitl left his feet and hit Barkov with a forearm to the jaw. The attacker fell to the ice and had difficulty getting up. Barkov did not play any more shifts after the goal. The Oilers star was given a two-minute minor for rough conduct and Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues made him and the Oilers pay with a power-play goal – his second of the period – to snap Edmonton’s streak of 34 consecutive penalty kills.

The Panthers won 4-1 to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

After looking frantic after the hit on Monday night, Maurice said he viewed the hit with less emotion a day later.

“It’s done,” he said. “The referees called the penalty on the ice. The league will make their decision and then we won’t have to deal with that anymore.”

go deeper

GO DEEPER

‘This isn’t The Oprah Winfrey Show’: Panthers, Oilers respond to Draisaitl-Barkov hit

As of late Tuesday morning, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety was still deliberating additional penalties for the hit, league sources said. But typically in these situations, as long as Barkov escaped without serious injury, Draisaitl would likely escape the suspension as well.

“We had some things to look at today,” Maurice said of Barkov’s injury. ‘So there’s nothing sinister going on. He more or less got through that. He felt better today. Feels good. But you have to give it another 24 hours to make sure he still feels strong and if that continues he will be a player for us.”

The Panthers practice in South Florida on Wednesday before flying to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4 on Thursday and Saturday evenings.

Required reading

(Photo: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)