The Florida Panthers had another one of those up-and-down sort of weeks.
Yes, the team won two of three games.
But just as Anthony Duclair started skating again for the first time since having offseason surgery to repair his Achilles tendon, captain Sasha Barkov appeared to sustain a left knee injury on a meaningless faceoff in the final seconds of the first period on Saturday.
Now, we don’t know what the severity of Barkov’s injury — if there is one — although we should know more today when the team holds its morning skate in Boston.
What we do know is that the Panthers cannot afford another injury, especially one to a player the caliber of Barkov.
There was a lot going on in Pantherland this week and Florida Hockey Now was all over it.
Let us look back at the week that was, shall we?
Zac Dalpe is 33-years-old and has been chasing his NHL dream since leaving Ohio State in 2010.
While he has played in 161 NHL games over the years, he is certainly making a name for himself with the Panthers right now.
And, coach Paul Maurice — who coached him with Carolina back in the day — says this may be his time.
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It has been a year since Maurice resigned as coach of the Winnipeg Jets and it has been a wild 12 months for him as he ended up in South Florida coaching a Panthers’ team in transition.
While Maurice and the Panthers would love to have a better record, he has really liked the fight his team has put up and sees a bright future in the not-to-distant future.
Maurice spoke with FHN about a variety of subjects including his departure from Winnipeg, what he expected in taking the Florida job and more.
This story is exclusive to FHN subscribers so join us! We’ll have a Holiday Mailbag coming up this week as well.
— The Panthers lost Barkov at the end of the first period on Saturday but ground out a nice win against the Devils in a game they never trailed.
The Panthers faced old pal Andrew Brunette on Saturday night for the first time since the team moved on from him as their interim head coach.
Brunette had a real nice run here — he was with the Panthers for three seasons — and has helped the Devils to a great start to their season.
— Things have not been going great for the Florida Panthers this season, but the solid play of Eetu Luostarinen has been a highlight so far.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead into the second period against Pittsburgh on Thursday night but two goals in the second was all the Penguins needed as Tristan Jarry was pretty darned good.
Pittsburgh scored twice on their power play and also a shorty from Kris Letang as they beat the Panthers again for the third consecutive time.
— Florida was had to play shorthanded Thursday as Matthew Tkachuk missed the Penguins game with whatever flu bug is going through the team right now.
Tkachuk only missed the one game, however.
The Florida Panthers spent Wednesday visiting local hospitals spreading some holiday cheer.
As Maurice said, every player signs up to do these sort of events. It is almost selfish being selfless in this case.
As much as the players give in these situations, they get back more from being there.
— The Panthers got some good news as Duclair skated Tuesday for the first time since having offseason surgery.
Duclair is not close to returning to the Panthers’ lineup, but this is obviously great news.
Maurice also updates the other injuries.
— Patric Hornqvist will be out until after the Christmas break, but he was back at practice on Wednesday.
The Panthers certainly miss his intensity on the ice.
The Panthers got a nice effort all around with Bobrovsky really being appreciative to his teammates for giving him a little support up front as they beat the Blue Jackets.
Florida was happy Bobrovsky appears to be back on track.
— The Panthers put Radko Gudas on injured reserve and brought up Grigori Denisenko.
Gudas did practice with the team on Tuesday but did not play on Thursday or Saturday night. It is possible he returns tonight against Boston.
The Panthers were averaging just over a point per game through their first 29 after losing to the Kraken on Sunday night.
So what’s going on?
Barkov says there are no excuses, but the Panthers have been going through some things.
Last week was tough and playing three games in four days coming off a five-day road trip would tax many teams.
— The Panthers have been getting a lot of help from the Charlotte Checkers as both Dalpe and Chris Tierney have two goals since coming up.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT BOSTON BRUINS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: TD Garden, Boston
- 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
- Season Series (Tied 1-1): Boston 5, Florida 3 (Oct. 17); Florida 5, Boston 2 (Nov. 23)
- Last season: Boston won 2-1
- All-time regular season series: Boston leads 59-37-6, 6 ties