Barkov injury update

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final on Monday, but the status of star center and captain Aleksander Barkov is murky.

Barkov didn’t play the final 9:28 of the Panthers’ 4-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Amerant Bank Arena after taking a high hit from forward Leon Draisaitl, who was given a two-minute penalty for roughing.

Barkov was down for a minute or so after the hit before being helped off the ice and to the dressing room.

Asked for an update on Barkov’s status after the game, Panthers coach Paul Maurice gave a one-word reply: “None.”

When asked if he thinks the NHL Department of Player Safety should look at the hit, he said, “The League looks at every hit.”

When asked a second time about his feelings on the hit, he said, “This isn’t ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ My feelings don’t matter.”

When asked if he held Barkov out of the rest of the game for precautionary reasons, Maurice reminded the media the score was 2-1 at the time of the injury, saying, “I’m not holding him.”

Draisaitl said the play was not out of frustration and that it was “just a hit.”

“I don’t think there was anything dirty about it,” Draisaitl said. “I don’t know, maybe I got him a little high, but certainly not any intent to injure or anything like that.”

NHL Tonight discusses the injury to Aleksander Barkov

Barkov’s teammates said little about the play, with forward Matthew Tkachuk saying, “I have no response or comment on that."

Regardless of how they feel about the play, losing Barkov for any games in the Final would be a big blow for the Panthers, who are looking for their first Stanley Cup championship.

Voted the Selke Trophy winner as the best defensive forward in the NHL this season, Barkov has been a key part of shutting down Oilers superstar forwards Connor McDavid and Draisaitl through two games. McDavid had one assist and three shots on goal in Game 2, and Draisaitl was held without a point on two shots. Before the Oilers lost 3-0 in Game 1 on Saturday, McDavid (31 points; five goals, 26 assists) and Draisaitl (28 points; 10 goals, 18 assists) had combined for 59 points through 18 playoff games.

In fact, the NHL’s top three scorers in the postseason -- McDavid, Draisaitl and Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (28 points; six goals, 22 assists) -- have combined for two assists in the Final. Bouchard also had an assist Monday.

Barkov had two shots on goal in 17:47 of ice time in Game 2 after having two assists in 21:06 of ice time in Game 1.

With the series shifting to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4, the Oilers will have the last change and will be able to attempt to get favorable matchups for McDavid and Draisaitl’s lines.

Forward Evan Rodrigues, who scored two goals in the third period Monday, liked how the Panthers responded after seeing Barkov get injured.

“I think we rallied,” Rodrigues said. “We did what we had to do to win the game. You never want to see your captain go down, but I thought everyone did a great job, focused in, got the job done."

Florida forward Kyle Okposo said, “I mean, yeah, obviously you don't want to see anybody get hurt. But I thought we did a good job of sticking with it. And we found a way. It was a huge goal by ‘Roddie’ there to break the dam on the [power play] there (to make it 3-1 at 12:26) and I just thought we did a great job in the third period after that.”

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