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Florida Panthers Without Barkov vs. Red Hot Predators



Florida Panthers captain Sasha Barkov, pictured here against Seattle in December, could miss tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers will be without captain Sasha Barkov when they play the red-hot Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

Florida’s captain was considered a “game-time decision” — but was not on the ice for warmups.

Barkov joined the team for morning skate after missing the last couple of practices with a lower-body injury.

“He’s right there,” coach Paul Maurice said in the morning. “The medical guys are going to make a decision on what they think another day will do. And if we think it’s going to give him a five percent boost, that’s a big number for us and we’re going to think about holding him one more.

“It’s nothing sinister. He’s dealt with is, he’s played with it and we’ve had this real upturn and it’s getting way better really fast and we want to keep that going.”

Matthew Tkachuk, who was labeled as questionable on Wednesday, is good to go for the Panthers.

That is good news for Florida considering a team on a 15-game point streak is on the other side of the ice tonight.

Nashville is 15-4-3 since the Panthers out-grinded them in a 4-1 win featuring three third-period goals.

They learned a thing or two from that game.

“I think you look back and I remember the Florida game we played them at home, and the first period was a little bit of an eye-opener for our group,” Predators coach Andrew Brunette said. “I thought we had to play at that intensity that they’re bringing and they bring it every night.

”I think they saw it firsthand without me having to say anything and I thought, the results didn’t show up right away, but I thought we dug in and found that level that you need to play against these great teams in the league. So for us, that was a big, big push and then I think over the last 15-16 games, we’ve got the secondary scoring that was probably missing early in the year.”

Uvis Balinskis, who the Panthers called up from AHL Charlotte this morning, will draw into the lineup with Dmitry Kulikov serving a two-game suspension.

He had a goal and two points in 18 games while helping fill in for an injured Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour to start the season.

”I like to describe him as a gamer,” Maurice said of the 27-year-old defenseman in his first season of North American hockey. “When you put a new player in the lineup, they’ll sometimes play that survival game where they try not to make a mistake. At the same time, there has to be a limit to that.

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“You can’t be playing forward if we’re playing you to play defense. And I thought he did a really good job trying to make plays where they are without cheating the game.”

The starting goalies: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Kevin Lankinen

Lankinen beat the Panthers last March.



  • When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise 
  • Streaming ONLY: ESPN+, Hulu
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Local Odds — Panthers Favored: Money Line (-190); Puck line (-1.5, +130); Over/Under 6.5 (+110/-130)
  • Season Series (Florida Leads 1-0) — At Nashville: Panthers 4, Predators 1 (Jan. 22). At Florida: Thursday.
  • Last Season: Nashville won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 22-14-6, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday, March 23 at New York Rangers, 8 p.m. (ABC)


23 Carter Verhaeghe // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart

17 Evan Rodrigues // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk

21 Nick Cousins // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 10 Vladimir Tarasenko

12 Jonah Gadjovich // 82 Kevin Stenlund // 94 Ryan Lomberg   

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: Steven Lorentz, Tobias Bjornfot, Kyle Okposo

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

Suspended: Dmitry Kulikov (1st of 2 games)


9 Filip Forsberg // 90 Ryan O’Reilly // 14 Gustav Nyquist

16 Jason Zucker // 10 Colton Sissons // 77 Luke Evangelista

17 Mark Jankowski // 82 Tommy Novak // 21 Anthony Beauvillier

44 Kiefer Sherwood // 47 Michael McCarron // 36 Cole Smith

27 Ryan McDonagh // 59 Roman Josi

22 Tyson Barrie // 2 Luke Schenn

7 Marc Del Gaizo // 45 Alexandre Carrier

32 Kevin Lankinen

74 Juuse Saros

Scratched: Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Cody Glass

Injured: Dante Fabbro (upper body), Spencer Stastney (upper body), Jeremy Lauzon (lower body)

Predators Lines Courtesy

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