Less than 24 hours after he was the hero of the Florida Panthers overtime win in Dallas, star defenseman Aaron Ekblad appeared to be seriously injured and had to be carted off the ice Sunday night.
With 11:02 left in the second period, Ekblad chased down a puck toward the half wall, turned and was hit.
It looked like his skate was caught in the small gap between the ice and the half boards, the impact of the hit apparently taken by his left leg.
Ekblad immediately hit the ice clutching his left knee and looked to be in considerable pain.
The game was stopped as soon as officials saw him writhing on the ice and, not long after Florida’s medical staff got to him, local EMTs came onto the ice with a wheeled stretcher.
Ekblad was stabilized on the ice and gave a wave as he was carted off.
Obviously, the severity of the injury is not known but it certainly does not look good.
Coach Joel Quenneville said after the game that Ekblad would fly back to Fort Lauderdale with the team and would be checked out by specialists Monday.
He said the team expects Ekblad to miss considerable time.
Ekblad, 25, is having perhaps his best season in the NHL since the Panthers selected him first overall in 2014 and losing him for an extended period of time — or the rest of this season — will hurt the Panthers.
Florida was already playing without two of their top players as Sasha Barkov missed the past four games and Patric Hornqvist two.
General manager Bill Zito was already thought to be in the market for an additional defenseman before the April 12 trade deadline and now he most certainly is.