Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov left his team’s Wednesday game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second period with lower-body injury.
Barkov was listed as “day-to-day” by interim coach and general manager Tom Rowe who noted that losing Barkov for any time is a significant blow to his team.
Barkov left the game after taking this shot from teammate Keith Yandle:
“It’s tough; he’s a great player, one of the best — if not the best — two-way centers in the league for his age group,” Rowe said according to the Miami Herald. “It’s a hard one to replace.”
Said forward Vincent Trocheck, also according to the Herald, “If he was anywhere else, if he was in Toronto or any big city where hockey is the focal point, you would be seeing a lot more of him.
“He is the glue to this team. When he is not in the lineup, it’s an enormous chunk missing. … Losing him is like losing Crosby in Pittsburgh.”
The Panthers have played the entire season without young scoring forward Jonathan Huberdeau (out three-to-four months after taking a skate to the leg in preseason) and losing Barkov, who is one of the top young players in the NHL, would further hurt their high-end depth up front.
Barkov, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, leads the Panthers in scoring with 27 points in 36 games and averages 19:11 of ice-time per-game. He also holds a plus-7.76 adjusted 5-on-5 CF% Rel.
The Panthers lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Maple Leafs to fall to 15-14-7. With 37 points, Florida is three back of the Boston Bruins for the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
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