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.
- Report: Leiweke to head up Olympic bid in Los Angeles 9
- In praise of John Tavares 14
- It’s New York Islanders Day at PHT 26
- McDavid on teams possibly tanking for him: ‘It’s pretty crazy’ 19
- Fanspeak: Lemieux (stunner!) voted greatest Penguin in franchise history 39
- Under Pressure: Mike Johnston 17
- It’s Pittsburgh Penguins Day at PHT 33
- Captain no more: Sharks strip Thornton of ‘C’ 47
- Tank defense: NHL changes up Draft Lottery format 55
- Fanspeak: Clarke voted greatest Flyer in franchise history 40