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Panthers GM surprised Jason Garrison missed Game 4

Apr 19, 2012, 8:01 PM EDT

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Jason Garrison, David Clarkson AP

It’s unlikely that he’d top Zdeno Chara‘s record-breaking blasts, but if the All-Star Game’s hardest shooting competition drew in the hardest shooters period (All-Star or not), Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison probably would’ve been invited. The hard-shooting blueliner already has a playoff goal on 10 shots and scored 16 during the regular season, so he might be missed in Game 4 against the New Jersey Devils.

His absence wasn’t an expected thing, either. Garrison is reportedly dealing with a lower-body injury, but Panthers GM Dale Tallon told George Richards he was “surprised as ‘you’ were” about the unhealthy scratch.

Garrison isn’t a household name by any means, but great power play point depth is a big reason why the Panthers are in the playoffs. The hard-shooting 27-year-old had one of the man advantage tallies that made Florida a perfect 3-for-3 on Tuesday.

Assuming this is an injury and isn’t an internal matter, the Panthers have to hope they’ll have Garrison back on Saturday – whether they’re up 3-1 or tied 2-2 in the series.

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