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Top Florida Panthers Scorer Leaves Toronto Game Early



Carter Verhaeghe, pictured here on Opening Night in Minnesota, left Monday’s game early in the third period with an apparent injury. (AP Photo/Matt Krohn)

The Florida Panthers played much of the third Monday in Toronto without one of their top scorers when Carter Verhaeghe left after his second shift of the period.

Verhaeghe was driven into the half wall by Toronto’s Simon Benoit and appeared to hit his right shoulder or arm.

He stayed in and completed the shift, but once he went to the bench, he did not return.

Florida coach Paul Maurice did not offer much of an update on Verhaeghe, saying he would be further evaluated on Tuesday with the team in Montreal.

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The Panthers, who ended up losing 6-4 to the Maple Leafs, play the Canadiens on Tuesday night.

If Verhaeghe does not play, Florida would likely turn to one of the handful of forwards it scratched on Monday.

Kyle Okposo, Steven Lorentz or Nick Cousins would likely return to the lineup if Verhaeghe cannot go.

Verhaeghe’s first shift of the third helped set up Vladimir Tarasenko’s goal. Verhaeghe slid the puck to Niko Mikkola, who in turn sent it toward the slot to a waiting Tarasenko.

He has 71 points off 33 goals this season — the second consecutive season Verhaeghe has surpassed the 30-goal mark.

Verhaeghe scored a career-high 40 for the Panthers last season.



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