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Panthers' Bjugstad questionable for Game 6

Florida center day-to-day after injury against Islanders

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The status of Florida Panthers center Nick Bjugstad was unclear as they prepared to travel for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBS, TVA Sports, SUN, MSG+).

Bjugstad sustained an upper-body injury early in the second overtime of the 2-1 loss in Game 5 when he lost his balance and his head hit the boards. Bjugstad stayed on the ice for several minutes before a trainer helped him off the ice.

Video: NYI@FLA, Gm5: Bjugstad takes check, exits with injury

Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said Saturday morning Bjugstad was day-to-day and was scheduled to be re-evaluated before they flew to New York.

"He got looked at last night, he got looked at this morning like all the other players that are banged up, and then I'll know from there," Gallant said. "But I haven't been told he's not [making the trip] and I haven't been told he is."

Gallant said the Panthers would not recall a player from Portland of the American Hockey League even if Bjugstad were unavailable for Game 6. Gallant mentioned the Panthers' three scratches at forward Friday: Greg McKegg, Quinton Howden and Shawn Thornton.  

Thornton did not take part in the morning skate Friday because he had the flu.

Bjugstad's injury came on the same night center Vincent Trocheck returned to the lineup for the first time since sustaining a foot injury March 29.

Trocheck began the game on a line with Jiri Hudler and Teddy Purcell before being reunited with Reilly Smith and Jussi Jokinen in the second period. Trocheck ended up with 31:24 of ice time, third among Panthers forwards behind Jokinen (32:31) and Smith (31:32).

Video: Quine notches game-winning goal in double overtime

"For a first game back, I didn't expect him to be able to play the way he did and the amount of ice time he played," Gallant said. "We were going to evaluate him during the game and he just kept getting better and better, so I let him go. If he would have had trouble, he would have looked tired, if he would have looked like he couldn't keep up, then it would have been a different situation. But [Trocheck] played last night like he didn't miss any time at all. That was a good thing to see."

Gallant said he was pleased with just about everything he saw in the Panthers' performance in Game 5, except for the final score.

The Panthers trail the best-of-7 series 3-2.

"They've had a good series," Gallant said. "They're playing really well; we're down 3-2. So we keep continuing to play, you work hard, you hope you get a few breaks here or there. We haven't had many breaks go our way so far. So we've just got to keep working, stay with it and keep playing our game. I can't tell them to play much better. They're playing their game, they're working hard and they're competing. It's not like we're not playing well."

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