SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers had a full practice on Tuesday afternoon for the first time in a while.
It looks like they are getting whole.
The Panthers will have another practice today before playing host to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night with coach Paul Maurice saying if the Panthers looked different on Tuesday, well, they looked different because some of their big guys were back.
Just having a full compliment of their players back — including Sasha Barkov and Aaron Ekblad — will do that for a team.
“Just watching practice, that big man moving through the middle — there aren’t many guys like him in the league,” Maurice said of Barkov.
“When you watch practice, you don’t see a guy that big and that fast. A guy like that changes the way you attack. And Anton Lundell being there … you take two of your top three centers out of the lineup for a month, you’re going to look different. It picks up everyone’s mood.”
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Radko Gudas has been out of the Florida lineup for almost a month now but appears ready to return Thursday against the Canadiens.
The news is not as good for Patric Hornqvist, who suffered a concussion in the same game Gudas was knocked out of.
— Matthew Tkachuk was critical of his team’s performance Friday on Long Island but said Tuesday his team has what it takes to make the playoffs. But that push has to start right now.
It is not going to be easy.
— The Panthers not only had Barkov and Ekblad at practice on Tuesday but also made some roster moves — with it looking like 2022 Liiga scoring champ Anton Levtchi could make his NHL debut against the Habs.
— As the Panthers have been fighting injury and illness, Lundell had to deal with both. He is back now and happy to be back doing the thing he loves.
— Check out Tuesday’s post-practice video from Tkachuk, Gudas and Maurice on the FHN YouTube Channel either by clicking the embedded videos below or click RIGHT HERE to see everything we’ve got up.
NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
The Philadelphia Flyers finally got some good news when it came to injuries as goalie Carter Hart was back on the ice for the first practice following the break.
It does not appear that Hart is going to miss any time after he was hurt last week — and things did not look good.
— The Washington Capitals give an update on John Carlson after he took a shot to the face against Winnipeg.
— Did the Pittsburgh Penguins just play their worst game of the year? Coming out of the break can be hard to do.
— The Vegas Golden Knights found that out in L.A.
— Unless they meet in the playoffs, the Battle of Alberta is done before New Year’s. Edmonton wins the season series against the Calgary Flames 2-1.
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.