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Aleksander Barkov returns to practice for Panthers

Center hasn't played since Dec. 28; forward Jonathan Huberdeau skates with team for first time since preseason injury

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Forwards Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau practiced Monday with the Florida Panthers for the first time since each was injured.

Barkov has been out since Dec. 28 because of a back injury; Huberdeau hasn't played this season because of an Achilles injury he sustained during a preseason game Oct. 8.

"I feel better every day and now I'm just skating with the team," Barkov told the Panthers website. "I'm pretty happy to do that, it's a lot more fun than skating on my own. ... I hope to maybe play soon.

"That's what we are trying to practice now and see if I can handle that. Hopefully in the next couple of days we can see more."

Barkov has nine goals and 27 points in 36 games. Last season, he led Florida with 28 goals and was third with 59 points in 66 games.

"There's no timetable with me." Barkov said. "I think it's a good thing that I can take my own time and with the trainers we can take our own time and see what's going on. ... Every day I'm getting better."

Video: BUF@FLA: Barkov slips backhand shot past Lehner

Huberdeau said he's made good progress although he's not ready to return yet.

Last season, he set personal NHL bests with 20 goals and 59 points.

"I feel good right now I am pretty close and I just have to work every day to be back," Huberdeau said. "It's hard because it's a long process."

Huberdeau said it would take more time for his tendon to strengthen.

"This injury, you can't really tell," Hubderdeau said. "Right now, it's more about me and how I feel and if I'm ready to go, but there's no time line. When I'm out there, I just want to be 100 percent and be good."

Huberdeau isn't expected to return until at least March.

The Panthers play the Ottawa Senators at home Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV).

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