Panthers’ Barkov exits in first period with lower-body injury


SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov left the first period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday with a lower-body injury. He did not return for the second period and was listed by the team as questionable.

Barkov missed the final 7:04 of the opening frame. He exited to the Panthers’ dressing room after taking a hip check from Carolina forward Jack Drury on his last recorded shift. The play appeared innocuous at the time but could have caused some measure of discomfort for Barkov.

The Panthers — already up 2-0 in the series — entered the second period without one of their top centers. Barkov has four goals and 12 points in 14 postseason games and is one of the club’s top faceoff forwards. He had two goals and an assist in the first two games of this series.

In Barkov’s absence, Eetu Luostarinen moved up to center Florida’s top line.

Game 4 is on Wednesday.

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