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Florida Panthers Expected to be Without Gus Forsling in Nashville

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Panthers forsling
Florida Panthers defenseman Gus Forsling, pictured here in Columbus on April 1, is on family leave and did not make the trip to Nashville. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

The Florida Panthers will be without captain Sasha Barkov for the third consecutive game Monday night in Nashville — but top defenseman Gus Forsling is not expected to play, either.

While Barkov is out due to an undisclosed lower body injury, Forsling is on family leave.

Forsling did not make the trip to Tennessee with coach Paul Maurice saying on Sunday they did not plan to have him meet the team on Monday.

He is expected to return Wednesday against Arizona as he went through Florida’s full practice on Sunday morning in Sunrise.

Forsling was skating as a defensive extra.

Florida, which is trying to snap a four-game losing streak, held an optional skate on Monday in Nashville and Maurice did not field any questions about lineup changes.

If Forsling is out, Josh Mahura returns to the lineup.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson will slide up to the top defensive pairing with Aaron Ekblad; Mahura and Dmitry Kulikov will be the third pairing between Niko Mikkola and Brandon Montour.

Rookie Mackie Samoskevich returns to the lineup and will play in his fourth NHL game after being recalled after Will Lockwood was given a three-game suspension for his hit on Minnesota goalie Marc-Andre Fleury during the first period Friday night.

Samoskevich will be on the third line with Evan Rodrigues and Kevin Stenlund.

The starting goalies will be Anthony Stolarz and Jusse Sarros.

— Former Florida coach Andrew Brunette faces his old team for the first time as a head coach tonight.

“It’s never fun playing your former team,’’ Brunette said Monday. “My time there was awesome, I was very grateful to be around that group.

“They are a great hockey team, great guys. I loved coaching them, loved being around them. They had a lot of joy when they played.”

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— As for Stolarz, Maurice said this was a planned start what with the Panthers playing four games this week — with three on the road and back-to-back games against the host Penguins and Islanders before the All-Star break.

Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled from Friday’s loss to the Wild with Stolarz giving up a power play goal in relief.

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ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ NASHVILLE PREDATORS 

  • When: Monday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville 
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Local Odds — Panthers Favored: Money Line (-120); Puck line (-1.5, +185); Over/Under 6.5 (-105/-125)
  • Season Series — At Nashville: Monday. At Florida: March 21.
  • Last Season: Nashville won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 21-14-6, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Wednesday vs. Arizona Coyotes, 7 p.m.

PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS (27-14-4) LINES

27 Eetu Luostarinen// 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart

23 Carter Verhaeghe // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk

17 Evan Rodrigues // 82 Kevin Stenlund  // 25 Mackie Samoskevich

12 Jonah Gadjovich// 18 Steven Lorentz //94 Ryan Lomberg

91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson // 5 Aaron Ekblad

77 Niko Mikkola // 62 Brandon Montour

7 Dmitry Kulikov // 28 Josh Mahura

41 Anthony Stolarz

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

Injured: Nick Cousins (concussion-IR), Sasha Barkov (lower body)

Family Leave: Gus Forsling

Suspended: Will Lockwood (1st of 3)

Scratched: None

PROJECTED NASHVILLE PREDATORS (25-20-1) LINES

9 Filip Forsberg // 90 Ryan O’Reilly // 14 Gustav Nyquist

44 Kiefer Sherwood // 82 Tommy Novak // 77 Luke Evangelista

13 Yakov Trenin // 10 Colton Sissons // 15 Denis Gurianov

36 Cole Smith // 47 Michael McCarron // 26 Philip Tomasino

59 Roman Josi // 57 Dante Fabbro

3 Jeremy Lauzon // 45 Alexandre Carrier

27 Ryan McDonagh // 2 Luke Schenn

74 Jusse Saros

32 Kevin Lankinen

Scratched: Juuso Parssine, Cody Glass, Tyson Barrie

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