The Florida Panthers have been without Ryan Lomberg for a while but it looks like their sparkplug forward could be nearing a return.
Lomberg apparently sustained a hand injury in Game 1 against the Boston Bruins and played through it the next two games.
While the Panthers will not specify what the injury is with Lomberg, coach Paul Maurice did say it was one which doctors decided was only going to get worse if he did not get it taken care of.
Lomberg is believed to have surgery on the injured hand after Game 4.
“Lombo is back on the ice and that’s a positive for us,” Maurice said. “I don’t have a timeline for that because it is more healing than anything else. It is not where whenever he feels better, he plays. It is when the docs give us the green light. Being back on the ice is a really good sign.
“The loudness is our room went way up with him. The room is louder now and it’s good to have him back.”
Lomberg played in Game 4 against the Bruins in Sunrise but was briefly knocked out of that game in the first period on a hit from Pavel Zacha; he returned and finished that game but was not in the lineup for Game 5.
It was later learned he was out because of the hand injury and not due to any lingering affects of the collision.
Maurice went from saying Lomberg’s condition was day-to-day to week-to-week.
Lomberg has been back on the ice with the Panthers the past couple of days and was spotted Wednesday doing a number of drills with Patric Hornqvidt and goalie Evan Fitzpatrick.
On Thursday, Maurice said Lomberg has been medially cleared to begin working on the ice without many restrictions as he continues to heal.
Lomberg traveled with the Panthers to Toronto although, based on Maurice’s comments, it does not sound like he is ready to play just yet.
With the Eastern Conference semifinals starting next week sometime, Lomberg could return then.
As it stands, Florida is very happy with its new third line of Eetu Luostarinen, Anton Lundell and Sam Reinhart.
Zac Dalpe has stepped in for Lomberg and had a game-tying goal in Game 6 against the Bruins; he is averaging 6:34 in place of Lomberg on the fourth line.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
PANTHERS (WC2) AT CAROLINA HURRICANES (MET1)
- When: TBA
- Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh
- TV/Radio: TBA
- Series Schedule: TBA
- Season Series: (Carolina won 2-1): Florida 3, Carolina 2 (Nov.9); Carolina 4, Florida 0 (Dec. 30); Carolina 6, Florida 4 (April 13)
- All-Time Regular Season Series: Carolina/Hartford leads 71-46-10, 11 ties
- Postseason History: First Meeting
- How They Got Here — Carolina: d. New York Islanders in 6; d. New Jersey Devils in 5. Florida: d. Boston Bruins in 7; d. Toronto Maple Leafs in 5.