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Florida Panthers to be Without Aaron Ekblad for Now

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Florida Panthers Aaron Ekblad
Aaron Ekblad will be out of the Florida Panthers lineup with a lower-body injury for at least the next two weeks. // Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

FORT LAUDERDALE — Aaron Ekblad will be out of the Florida Panthers lineup for at least two weeks with an apparent knee injury.

Ekblad left the Panthers’ 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames in the first period after an accidental knee-to-knee collision with teammate Vladimir Tarasenko.

“Ekblad is going to be out two weeks as a starting point and then we’ll go day-to-day after that,” coach Paul Maurice said.

It is not going to be a long-term deal for Ekblad, per Maurice, avoiding any major structural damage that would have put his season in jeopardy.

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“It was nothing sinister,” Maurice said. “It was nothing that you think will linger beyond a normal window but the qualifier we are putting on it is that we’re not bringing him back early. And that’s why this may take a little longer.”

Ekblad missed a lot of time with the Panthers with lower-body injuries over the course of his career, suffering two which put an end to his regular seasons in both 2020-21 and 2021-22.

He also missed the beginning of the 2023-24 season after recovering from a shoulder injury — and a slew of other bumps and bruises — he picked up in the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final last year.

“Lord knows the man went two months with five broken bones and a separated shoulder and all of the other things he went through, so we’re going to wait until he is 100 percent,” Maurice said. “I expect him back at the end of March, early April.”

Evan Rodrigues will be a game-time decision for the Panthers for their Tuesday matchup with the Dallas Stars.

He left Saturday’s game late in the second period after blocking a hard slap shot with his ankle.

Josh Mahura will slide into the lineup to replace Ekblad, sliding in on the third pair next to Dmitri Kulikov.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson will man Ekblad’s usual spot in the lineup on the top pairing next to Gus Forsling.

ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ DALLAS STARS

  • When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: AmericanAirlines Center, Dallas
  • 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, NHL app
  • Last Season: Dallas won 2-0
  • This Season (Panthers Lead 1-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Stars 4 (Dec. 6). At Dallas: Tuesday.
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 25-21-2, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday @ Carolina, 7 p.m.
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