The Panthers are in a battle for first place in the Central Division but will be without a few regulars for a little while. The team announced (Twitter link) that goalie Chris Driedger has been ruled out for the rest of the road trip which takes him out for the next three games though he isn’t expected to be out much longer than that. Winger Patric Hornqvist is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Meanwhile, winger Carter Verhaeghe isn’t expected to play on the trip either, notes David Wilson of the Miami Herald. As a result, Florida entered tonight’s game down two of their top four scorers plus their top netminder statistically. Between that and Carolina holding two games in hand, the Panthers will have their work cut out for them if they want to secure that top seed.
Other injury notes from around the NHL:
- Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram and winger Logan O’Connor have both suffered setbacks in their recoveries from upper- and lower-body injuries respectively, reports Mike Chambers of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Byram was recently taken off the COVID-Protocol Related Absences (CPRA) List but his injury preceded his placement there. As for O’Connor, he has been out since the end of March. Both players are now listed as week-to-week.
- On the other hand, Colorado is set to get several key regulars back as com’s Rick Sadowski mentions that wingers Mikko Rantanen and Joonas Donskoi plus goalie Philipp Grubauer could all return to the lineup on Friday. Those three were on the CPRA list until recently as well and would undoubtedly provide a boost to the Avalanche’s lineup as they look to chase down Vegas for the top seed in the West.
- The Sabres are unlikely to have goaltenders Linus Ullmark or Carter Hutton return this season, reports Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News. Ullmark has not yet resumed skating after suffering a lower-body injury two weeks ago while interim head coach Don Granato noted that Hutton recently had a setback after resuming skating as he worked his way back from a leg issue. That means that Dustin Tokarski and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will likely remain Buffalo’s tandem for the rest of the year.
- The Senators have ruled out a return for winger Austin Watson this season, relays Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch (Twitter link). Watson suffered a wrist injury back in late March, one that carried a four-to-six week recovery time and it appears it will be the latter with him not returning. He wraps up his first year with Ottawa with 10 points, 40 penalty minutes, and 100 hits in 34 games.