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Gus Forsling Gets Hurt, Keeps Coming Back with the Florida Panthers

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Florida Panthers defenseman Gus Forsling, pictured against the New York Islanders on April 19, continues to come back from injury to help his team. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

For the second time in less than a week, Gus Forsling came back from a serious-looking injury to come back and help the Florida Panthers.

Last Saturday, Forsling returned mid-game after sustaining a lower-body injury and scored the game-winning goal in their 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild.

On Friday night, he slid into the boards feet first at high-speed and looked to seriously injure his right leg 7:57 into the second period.

But lo-and-behold, he returned to the game in the third period and played eight minutes on his injured leg.

Ultimately, he did not help the Panthers win on Friday as they lost to the Los Angeles Kings.

”I didn’t think he was coming back,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said.

”He is one tough cookie for the things that he’s gone down with here in the last two weeks and he surprised us by coming out on the bench. The concern is that he is playing on adrenaline.”

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Forsling has not been evaluated by the team and his status for Saturday night’s clash with the Boston Bruins is in question.

Maurice said that Forsling has already been nursing a “significant” injury last week’s game against Minnesota but it is one that he is willing to play through.

Knowing Forsling, Maurice thinks it would be pretty hard to convince him to sit.

”He is not a player that leaves the bench easily,” Maurice said. “He is one tough man.”

The 26-year-old defenseman has been a player that Florida has quietly leaned on heavily this season.

He is one of six players who have played in all 51 of the team’s games and he is doing so while playing 23:44 a night.

His minutes total only trails Brandon Montour.

Forsling’s 30 points are second on the team — also behind Montour — and he is seven points away from surpassing the career-high he set last season.

His loss was apparent right after he left the game.

Aaron Ekblad took a roughing penalty for jumping in to defend his defensive partner and the Panthers found themselves 4-on-4 with just four defensemen.

Viktor Arvidsson took advantage and cashed in with a shorthanded goal right after Ekblad’s penalty expired to put the Kings up by three goals halfway through the second period.

Florida had three minutes of power play time leftover from the major penalty Alex Turcotte was assessed but they could not get much going on it.

Their second unit was missing Forsling in his usual quarterback spot in the extended look they got on the back half of that power play.

”We lose him and Ekblad is in the box and we have a problem 4-on-4,” Maurice said.

”He does all things for the second half of the power play unit. He plays against the other team’s best, his skating game is great and he moves the puck. He has been outstanding.”

The Panthers rallied back into the game in the second period with goals from Ryan Lomberg and Brandon Montour three minutes apart but it was not enough for them to get over the hump.

Florida had the Kings hemmed into their own zone for the majority of the period, outshooting them 19-11, but Phoenix Copley helped them hold on for the win.

By the time Carter Verhaeghe scored Florida’s lone third-period goal of the night with 33.4 seconds left, Matt Roy had already put the game away with an empty-netter 30 seconds earlier.

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