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Florida Panthers Notes: Ekblad Skating; Tkachuk, Barkov are ‘Fine’



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The Florida Panthers practice Monday in Fort Lauderdale under the watchful eye of coach Paul Maurice. // Photo @GeorgeRichards

FORT LAUDERDALE — Just over a week after leaving a game with a scary looking knee injury, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad resumed skating on Monday.

Ekblad took part in solo drills, while wearing in a track suit, before taking some shots on Roberto Luongo and heading in.

Luongo was filling in for Sergei Bobrovsky, whom coach Paul Maurice said was not feeling well.

As for Ekblad, Maurice said last week that Florida’s star defenseman would be out “at least” two weeks following the injury.

He remains on track for the same timeline.

“The two week idea would be the New York Rangers game [on Saturday], and then there will be a block of time after that,” Maurice said.

“If he continues, he will be day-to-day from that time on.”

Maurice said last week that he will not put Ekblad back in the lineup until he is 100 percent.

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With four days off between now and the team’s next game on Thursday against the Nashville Predators, it rings true for their other stars as well.

Sasha Barkov and Evan Rodrigues both missed practice with minor injuries that they have been able to play through; Matthew Tkachuk left Monday’s practice early with an apparent stinger.

All three are “fine” per Maurice.

“They are as good today as they were going into [last Saturday’s] game,” he said. “We are just taking this block of time to try to get them to 100 percent.”

Anthony Stolarz, meanwhile, returned to the ice from an illness of his own on Monday after missing Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning with it.

Evan Cormier was returned to the ECHL Florida Everblades are being called up to back up Bobrovsky against Tampa.

The Panthers are trying to make the most of their practice days after a three-game block which saw the team stray away from its usual tight, yet hard-checking style of game.

After Florida gave up four or more goals in each of its past three games, losing the last two, Maurice skated his team hard on Monday.

They will get a recovery day on Tuesday before getting back to work on Wednesday.

With the team having a game every other day for most of the rest of the way to follow, they are trying to take advantage of this block as much as they can.

“We wouldn’t have skated all three and we’re going to start the process of managing the 10 games in 17 days that come up here,” Maurice said.

“Six straight are divisional, and that’s not ideal, so what we’re trying to do is get into a bit of a playoff format ow and just carry it so we went a little longer and a little heavier on the ice today and in the gym today and tomorrow we won’t skate, we will do a full recovery day from today.

“Then we will skate the next day and then we probably won’t see a practice until April 8.”



  • When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise 
  • Streaming ONLY: ESPN+, Hulu
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Season Series (Florida Leads 1-0) — At Nashville: Panthers 4, Predators 1 (Jan. 22). At Florida: Thursday.
  • Last Season: Nashville won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 22-14-6, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday, March 23 at New York Rangers, 8 p.m. (ABC)

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