There was some good news health-wise last night for the Florida Panthers, who are attempting to get back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture with a 7-2-1 record in their last ten games. Defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forward Sam Bennett both suffered upper-body injuries during last night’s win against Minnesota. Yet, head coach Paul Maurice said post-game that both players might be good to go for tomorrow’s game against the Rangers.
Even if one or both of Ekblad and Bennett can’t play tomorrow, it’s great news that neither player is expected to be out long-term. Ekblad’s already missed a handful of games due to injury this season, and his 20 points in 37 games is a bit of a step back from his usual pace. Still, he’s one of the best defensemen in the league and is dominant on the power play, one of Florida’s strengths. Bennett is also an essential part of Florida’s secondary scoring, as the 26-year-old is sixth on the team in scoring with 30 points in 48 games and plays nearly 18 minutes per game.
- Don’t expect the Washington Capitals to follow in the Boston Bruins’ footsteps regarding load management. While it was reported earlier this week that Bruins might consider resting captain Patrice Bergeron at points down the stretch, Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette told The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir that he does not intend to employ a similar technique with the Capitals roster, which has been prone to injuries for much of the season. El-Bashir suspects that the Capitals’ slim cushion on a playoff spot in a tight Eastern Conference discourages Laviolette from resting any stars, something the Bruins and their world-shattering pace don’t have to worry about.
- Ty Anderson of 98.5 The Sports Hub and NBC Sports Boston reports that Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo will play tonight when they host the San Jose Sharks. Carlo sustained a lower-body injury in a January 19 game against the Rangers but will not miss any further action. One of the league’s best pure defensive defensemen, Carlo has a goal and seven assists in 41 games this season, along with a career-high +23 rating.