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The Florida Panthers Get Key Player Back for Islanders



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Aaron Ekblad, top, celebrates the Florida Panthers’ win over the Washington Capitals last month. Ekblad returns to the lineup tonight against the New York Islanders. // Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

FORT LAUDERDALE — The Florida Panthers will ice their whole lineup for the first time in weeks Thursday when the New York Islanders come to town.

Aaron Ekblad has missed the past seven games after colliding with Vladimir Tarasenko at center ice earlier this month but will be back tonight.

Florida got Sasha Barkov and Gus Forsling back on Tuesday.

Ekblad has been a full participant in morning skates and practices the past few days but coach Paul Maurice has been wary of putting him back in too soon.

Thursday morning, Ekblad was back running with Forsling on Florida’s top defensive pairing.

Josh Mahura will be scratched; Uvis Balinskis was sent back to Charlotte.

The starting goalies for tonight: Anthony Stolarz vs. Semyon Varlamov.

Florida will clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight. The Islanders are six points back of Washington for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.




17 Evan Rodrigues // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Vladimir Tarasenko

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

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

21 Nick Cousins // 18 Steven Lorentz // 82 Kevin Stenlund

42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad

77 Niko Mikkola // 62 Brandon Montour

91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson // 7 Dmitry Kulikov

41 Anthony Stolarz

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Jonah Gadjovich, Tobias Bjornfot, Kyle Okposo, Ryan Lomberg, Josh Mahura

Injured: None

Returned to AHL Charlotte: Uvis Balinskis


29 Brock Nelson // 14 Bo Horvat // 21 Kyle Palmieri

27 Anders Lee // 13 Mathew Barzal // 20 Hudson Fasching

53 Casey Cizikas // 44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau // 18 Pierre Engvall

17 Matt Martin // 32 Kyle MacLean // 15 Cal Clutterbuck

3 Adam Pelech // 8 Noah Dobson

28 Alexander Romanov // 41 Robert Bortuzzo

2 Mike Reilly // 6 Ryan Pulock

40 Semyon Varlamov

30 Ilya Sorokin

Scratched: Samuel Bolduc, Oliver Wahlstrom, Sebastian Aho, Simon Holmstrom

Injured: Scott Mayfield (lower body)

New York Islanders Lines Courtesy

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