June 13, 2024

Florida Panthers May Be Without Captain Sasha Barkov in Cup Final

SUNRISE — Despite leading 2-0 against the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final, the Florida Panthers are facing a somber situation due to the uncertain status of their captain, Sasha Barkov.

Barkov exited the game with a possible jaw injury after being struck by a flying elbow from Edmonton star Leon Draisaitl midway through the third period.

Draisaitl appeared to target Barkov’s head, leaving his feet in the process, but was only given a 2-minute minor penalty for roughing.

Evan Rodrigues scored his second goal on the resulting power play, helping Florida secure a 4-1 victory.

Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday in Edmonton.

The availability of both Barkov and Draisaitl for Thursday’s game remains uncertain.

Coach Paul Maurice, known for his upbeat demeanor in post-game press conferences, was notably somber on Monday night.

“The league will take a look at it,” he said, simply. “They look at every hit.”

How the Florida Panthers Look Without Captain Sasha Barkov | Yardbarker

Maurice did not provide an update on Barkov’s condition but clarified that Barkov was not held out of the game for being healthy, implying he was either under concussion protocol or too injured to continue.

Florida had a 3-1 lead before Aaron Ekblad’s empty-net goal with 2:28 remaining.

“There was 9:28 left on the clock in a 2-1 game,” Maurice said. “I was not holding him out.”

Regarding the hit, he added: “This isn’t the Oprah Winfrey Show. My feelings don’t matter.”

Anton Lundell, who contributed two assists on Monday, including one on Rodrigues’ second goal, expressed the team’s sentiments about Barkov.

“He’s our captain. We never want to miss him, but we hope it’s going to be OK,” Lundell said. “We hope he’s going to be back. We love him and hope he’s coming back even stronger.”

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