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Panthers Star Sasha Barkov Set to Return vs. Bruins



Barkov panthers
Florida Panthers center Sasha Barkov warms up before the start of a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 6 in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida Panthers captain Sasha Barkov is set to return to the lineup against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

Barkov missed the team’s past three games with a minor lower-body injury he had been previously playing through.

The 6-foot-2 centerman has 18 goals and 66 points in 62 games this season and is a favorite for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top two-way forward in the league.

“He plays in all situations,” coach Paul Maurice said. “Our penalty kill has been pretty good when he was out, but it was never quite as good on the face-offs. Our power play had a few games where it didn’t go, and then with matchups, he is a strong, left-handed face-off man.”

Gus Forsling will also return to the lineup from an illness which kept him out of the team’s previous two games.

The 27-year-old defenseman has 10 goals and 35 points in 68 games with a league-leading plus/minus of plus-46.

Josh Mahura will come out of the lineup for Forsling while Uvis Balinskis will stay in.

Aaron Ekblad skated with the team during its morning skate on Tuesday in a full-contact jersey but will not return.

”I think he is close,” Maurice said. “He is definitely day-to-day. He wants in, but we have to be careful. We are going to hold him longer than he wants us to hold him. He is going to have to go through two or three practices with some bumping and grinding, which is challenging because we aren’t practicing until April 8. So we just won’t be sure on this one.”

Ekblad has four goals and 17 points in 47 games after missing the first month of the season following an offseason shoulder surgery.

He has missed the past six games for Florida after taking an accidental knee-to-knee collision from teammate Vladimir Tarasenko.

Tuesday’s game has big stakes for the Panthers and they are happy to be closer to full strength for it.

Florida and Boston are both tied for the first seed in the Atlantic Division and the winner will get a huge leg up on the title race.

The Panthers have a game in hand on the Bruins entering the first of two meetings between the two teams in the final four weeks of the season.



  • When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+
  • Radio: 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
  • Last Season — Regular Season: Tied 2-2; Playoffs: Florida won 4-3 (first-round)
  • This season (Bruins Lead 2-0) — At Boston: Bruins 3, Panthers 2 OT (Oct.30); April 6. At Florida: Bruins 3, Panthers 1 (Nov. 22); Tuesday.
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Boston leads 62-37-7, 6 ties
  • All-time Postseason Series: Florida leads 2-0 (1996, 2023)
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday vs. NY Islanders, 7 p.m.


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