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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Florida Panthers May Be Without Captain Sasha Barkov in Cup Final



Florida Panthers captain Sasha Barkov is assisted by teammates after he was injured during the third period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers have a 2-0 lead on the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final, but the mood was decidedly dark due to the uncertainty surrounding captain Sasha Barkov.

Barkov left the game with what looks like a jaw injury after taking a flying elbow from Edmonton star Leon Draisaitl midway through the third period.

Although Draisaitl clearly leaves his feet and appears to target Barkov’s head, he was only hit with a 2-minute minor for roughing.

Evan Rodrigues scored the second of his goals on the ensuing power play to give Florida some breathing room in a 4-1 win.

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Game 3 is Thursday in Edmonton.

Whether Barkov — or Draisaitl, for that matter — plays on Thursday is up for debate.

Coach Paul Maurice, who famously has fun in his press game post conferences even after losing, barely cracked a smile on Monday night.

“The league will take a look at it,’’ he said, plainly. “They look at every hit.’’

Although he did not offer an update on Barkov’s status, he did say that he did not hold a healthy Barkov out of the game — meaning he was either held out for concussion protocol or was too hurt to return.

Florida did have a 3-1 lead in the game before Aaron Ekblad’s empty-net goal with 2:28 left.

“There was 9:28 left on the clock in a 2-1 game,’’ Maurice said. “I was not holding him out.’’

As for his thoughts on the hit: “This isn’t the Oprah Winfrey Show. My feelings don’t matter.”

Anton Lundell, who had a pair of assists Monday including on Rodrigues’ second, was one of the few players to talk about Barkov.

“He’s our captain. We never want to miss him, but we hope it’s going to be OK,’’ Lundell said. “We hope he’s going to be back. We love him and hope he’s coming back even stronger.”

Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 2-0
  • When: Thursday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Rogers Place; Edmonton, Alberta
  • National TV: ABC
  • Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida at Edmonton, Thursday; Game 4:Florida at Edmonton, Saturday June 15; Game 5*: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday June 18; Game 6*:Florida at Edmonton, Friday June 21; Game 7*: Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary
  • How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2.
  • This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17).
  • Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties
  • Postseason History: First Meeting

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