Feb 1, 2014, 1:13 PM EDT
The Florida Panthers have dropped three of their last four games, but should get some help for tonight’s contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets as forward Aleksander Barkov is projected to return, according to Steve Goldstein.
Barkov has missed four straight matches due to a knee injury. The 18-year-old rookie, who was taken with the second overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has eight goals and 24 points in 50 contests this season. That makes him one of the Panthers’ top offensive threats, which really underscores just how bad a year it’s been for them.
Erik Gudbranson might also end up playing tonight. He’s spent three straight contests in the press box after coach Peter Horachek suggested that the 22-year-old defenseman has played poorly since he started wearing a full cage. Gudbranson has been forced to do so because he underwent orbital bone surgery in December.
Really, these changes mean more for the Blue Jackets than Florida itself. With a 21-26-7 record, the Panthers’ odds of making the playoffs are slim, but Columbus is still in a fierce battle for a postseason spot.
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- Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal 21
- Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23 69
- Locked in: Columbus signs Saad to six-year, $36M deal 27
- Oilers sign McDavid to entry-level contract 28
- ‘Hawks would like to re-sign Oduya, but still working through ‘financial hurdles’ 17
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick 73
- Voynov takes plea, gets 90 days in jail plus probation 66
- Curtains on Broadway: Martin St. Louis calls it a career 36
- Discuss: Where’s the best fit for Alex Semin? 23
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad; Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick (73)