The Florida Panthers will not have Patric Hornqvist in the lineup this evening when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes, as he has entered the COVID protocol. Hornqvist joins Mason Marchment, Sam Reinhart, and Spencer Knight, stealing quite a few important names from the team’s regular roster.
The Panthers, among the league’s elite teams so far this season, lost their last game against the Dallas Stars in a shootout and have now called two points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division. The team is not only without these key players due to COVID-related absences, but also names like Sam Bennett due to a suspension and Markus Nutivaara due to injury. Despite that, they will need to try to take down the red hot Metropolitan-leading Hurricanes.
Lucas Carlsson and Aleksi Heponiemi will both enter the lineup tonight, while Sergei Bobrovsky will take the net again, his fifth start since returning from the holiday break.
In Anaheim, the Ducks are facing their own COVID absences. Vinni Lettieri is the latest addition to the protocol, where he will join John Gibson, Hampus Lindholm, Derek Grant, and Sam Carrick. Ryan Getzlaf has technically left the protocol, but he’ll also miss tonight’s game against the New York Rangers as the team gets him back up to speed.
The Ducks have recalled five players ahead of the game. Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Jacob Perreault, Buddy Robinson, Greg Pateryn, and Lukas Dostal are all up from the San Diego Gulls. Perreault, still just 19, would be making his NHL debut when he hits the ice tonight (he is expected to play with Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano). Selected 27th overall in 2020, Perreault has 18 points in 23 games for the Gulls this season as one of the few junior-aged players eligible to play in the minor leagues. That’s thanks to the number of games he played last season–27–during the OHL’s postponed campaign. The son of longtime NHL forward Yanic Perreault, he would be the 16th player from the 2020 first round to make his debut–the second for Anaheim, after Jamie Drysdale.