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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Sam Bennett Could Return to Florida Panthers In Boston Tonight

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FORT LAUDERDALE — Sam Bennett was back on the ice with the scratched players of the Florida Panthers on Thursday morning with coach Paul Maurice leaving open the possibility he plays tonight against the Boston Bruins.

Without getting into too much detail, Maurice said Bennett would participate on Friday’s morning skate in Boston.

A decision on his playing status would be made after that.

“He is closer,’’ Maurice said. “We will know more tomorrow after the skate.’’

Bennett, Florida’s second line center, has been out the past two weeks after sustaining a hand injury after being struck by a Brandon Montour slapshot.

The injury came in the second period of Game 2 against the Lightning, a game Bennett was dominating.

Bennett scored Florida’s first goal and had the primary assist on its second.

Later in his talk with the media on Thursday, Maurice mentioned the potential of having a tough decision to make when Bennett returns.

Maurice is already sitting Ryan Lomberg and Jonah Gadjovich due to the strong play of Florida’s fourth line.

With Bennett coming back, centers Anton Lundell and Kevin Stenlund would slide down.

Steven Lorentz, who has been terrific this postseason, would appear to be the odd man out at least initially.

“One of the challenges with Sam Bennett coming in when you have a fourth line playing as well as it is,’’ Maurice said. “What are you going to do? We’re not going to keep Sam Bennett out of the lineup, right? It is tough. There is some chemistry there.’’

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1) V. BOSTON BRUINS (ATL2)
BEST-OF-7 SERIES TIED 1-1
GAME 3 

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