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No Barkov, But Panthers Expect ‘Pretty Good Fight’ Against Rangers



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Florida Panthers center  Steven Lorentz, pictured here in a preseason game against Carolina on Sept. 29, is back in the lineup tonight against the New York Rangers. He has been scratched in 22 of the past 23 games. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Florida Panthers will again be without captain Sasha Barkov tonight when they visit the New York Rangers in a nationally-televised game on ABC.

Coach Paul Maurice said Friday that he welcomed a little adversity within his ranks — and, even shorthanded, he wants to see a quick start at Madison Square Garden as the Panthers attempt to snap a three-game losing streak.

Florida is 3-3-1 without Barkov in the lineup this season.

“We need that challenge, we’re a little undermanned” Maurice said after his team’s morning skate at Chelsea Piers in midtown Manhattan. “That is the adversity you get in the NHL now. We have lost a lot of games here, so we feel that pressure, too. I am expecting us to come some pretty good fight tonight.”

Florida kicks off a rough back-to-back tonight with the Panthers playing in Philadelphia on Sunday night.

Maurice mixed up the lines for Friday’s practice after putting them through a blender during Thursday’s 3-0 loss to the Predators.

Florida will have a new look tonight.

Ryan Lomberg and Jonah Gadjovich will not play — it will be the first time Lomberg has been scratched in two seasons — with Steven Lorentz getting back in for the first time since Feb. 24. He will center the third line.

Lorentz has been scratched in 22 of Florida’s past 23 games.

“I felt guilty about taking him out because he had not done anything to deserve it,” Maurice said. “When a guy’s game isn’t there, you don’t feel bad about taking them out because you know you can get them better, right? Get their attention a little bit, have a reset. But Steve did not deserve to come out of the lineup. He was playing some of his best hockey at the time.’’

Kyle Okposo will also play tonight. He has been scratched in three of his first five games since joining the Panthers at the NHL Trade Deadline.

“We have a bunch of guys either dealing with something or coming off of something,” Maurice said. “This is the perfect time to get some players who are healthy into the lineup. I want all of these guys to have played a game within the last 10 before the playoffs start. It is an opportunity for those guys to go in — and they don’t have to come out, either. They can go in and earn a job, and keep it. They need reps so we have some healthy bodies.”

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The starting goalies: Igor Shesterkin goes against Sergei Bobrovsky.




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

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

17 Nick Cousins // 18 Steven Lorentz // 10 Vladimir Tarasenko

21 Nick Cousins // 82 Kevin Stenlund // 8 Kyle Okposo

91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson // 41 Gustav Forsling 

77 Niko Mikkola // 62 Brandon Montour

28 Josh Mahura // 26 Uvis Balinskis

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

41 Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Ryan Lomberg, Jonah Gadjovich, Tobias Bjornfot

Injured: Aaron Ekblad (lower body), Sasha Barkov (lower body)

Suspended: Dmitry Kulikov (2nd of 2 games)


20 Chris Kreider // 93 Mika Zibanejad // 96 Jack Roslovic

10 Artemi Panarin // 16 Vincent Trocheck // 13 Alexis Lafreniere

22 Jonny Brodzinski // 91 Alex Wennberg //24 Kaapo Kakko

26 Jimmy Vesey // 21 Barclay Goodrow // 73 Matt Rempe

79 K’Andre Miller // 4 Braden Schneider

56 Erik Gustafsson // 23 Adam Fox

6 Zac Jones // 5 Chad Ruhwedel

31 Igor Shesterkin

32 Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Will Cuylle, Brandon Scanlin

Injured: Jacob Trouba (lower body), Ryan Lindgren (lower body)

New York Rangers Lines Courtesy

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