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After Injury and Sickness, Florida Panthers Get Anton Lundell Back

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After missing nine games with an injury and illness, the Florida Panthers got center Anton Lundell back on Wednesday against the Devils. — Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

The Florida Panthers have been missing numerous top players either due to injury or illness the past few weeks.

Anton Lundell got hit with both.

Florida’s sophomore center left the Panthers’ game in Vancouver on Dec. 1 with a still-undisclosed upper body injury in the first period.

He came out for two shifts in the second period before leaving that game for good.

Then he got hit with the flu.

It was a double-whammy that cost him nine games.

Lundell returned Wednesday against the Devils and played the final two games before the Christmas break.

”I tried to rehab to get back as soon as I could but it did take some time,” Lundell said. “I have been working hard with the cardio, skating as well. It is fun to be back with the guys, get some chemistry back and go get some goals.”

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It was a tough time for Lundell who was not able to do much physically as he recovered from the illness.

Lundell was so sick in Seattle, the team left him behind to recuperate a few days at the team hotel as they made their way to Winnipeg with a stopover in Wyoming.

He had to fly back to South Florida on his own.

“It has been a hard couple of weeks and I was not feeling real good,” he said. “I am very happy to be feeling better. I love playing hockey and sometimes you forget how much fun it is to be healthy and be able to play this game.

“Now I am without pain and I am going to have a smile on my face and enjoy playing the game again. Sometimes strange things happen and you just have to live with it. I just wanted to get myself healthy and I feel good now.”

The Panthers have been hurting for some time with the likes of captain Sasha Barkov, Lundell, Carter Verhaeghe, Patric Hornqvist, Radko Gudas and others missing big chunks of time.

Florida has pieced its roster back together with players from Charlotte but hopes to get Barkov and Gudas for Thursday’s game against the Canadiens.

Aaron Ekblad, injured Friday on Long Island, may be out for the second time this season.

As for Lundell, he was just starting to get his game going when he was hurt in Vancouver.

After going 13 games without a goal, Lundell scored in Florida’s win against Boston on Nov. 23 which started a three-game goal streak.

Lundell has one assist since returning Wednesday night.

“It has been tough for us but every team goes through something like this during the season,” he said. “It is tough having so many guys out of the lineup, but it can happen and we as a team have to find a way to win games regardless of who is in or out. I feel like we are close, when I came back I wanted to bring some positive energy and help our line be the best on the ice. It’s right there, we’re super-close and it is only a matter of time before the pucks and the chances turn our way.”

PANTHERS ON DECK

MONTREAL CANADIENS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS 

  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Last season: Florida won 3-1
  • All-time regular season series: Florida leads 51-38-11, 6 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Dec. 30 at Carolina Hurricanes, 7:30 p.m.

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