The Florida Panthers got a big boost on the ice Thursday in the desert as not only was center Sasha Barkov back on the top line but so was Anthony Duclair.
Barkov left Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues in the third period with what looked like an upper body injury — something separate from the knee injury which forced him to miss eight games before returning in St. Louis.
”We’ll see how he feels after,’’ interim coach Andrew Brunette said following the team’s afternoon practice at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
“It was encouraging to see him out there and he seemed to be fine. Again, we’ll get evaluation when we clear out here.”
Duclair has been out since being a surprise scratch Nov. 26 at Washington.
The undisclosed injury cost him six games.
Still, coming into Friday’s game against the host Arizona Coyotes, Duclair is still tied for second (behind Barkov) for the team lead in goals with nine.
“Again, we will see how he responds,” Brunette said. “This was his first hard practice with the group during the whole time and we want to make sure with those things.”
The Panthers have held their own with out Barkov (winning six of eight) and Duclair (four of six) although they are certainly a better team with those two in there.
“It’s nice to get everyone back, for sure, add some spark throughout the lineup,” Sam Reinhart said.
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT ARIZONA COYOTES
- WHEN: Friday, 9 p.m.
- WHERE: Gila River Arena; Glendale, Ariz.
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: WQAM 560
- Last season: Did not play
- This season: @Florida 5, Arizona 3 (Oct. 26)