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Panthers will be without injured Barkov against Sabres

Center sustained an upper-body injury in loss Monday

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

PANTHERS (31-16-6) at SABRES (21-26-6)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; FS-F, MSG-B, NHL.TV

BUFFALO - The Florida Panthers will be without center Aleksander Barkov and the Buffalo Sabres will not have Zemgus Girgensons on Tuesday.

Barkov was injured 6:40 into the second period during the 3-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday when he was checked by Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader. Barkov left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return.

"It's going to be interesting to see what comes out of [the hit]. I don't know if anything's coming out of it," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "The player's injured, he's not going to play tonight, but like I said, it's one of those borderline hits that if it's against your team you're not happy. They'll look at it and argue about it. I didn't like it."

Gallant did not say how long Barkov will be out. Nick Bjugstad will take Barkov's spot on the first line between Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr.

"He's been there before, I've played with him a lot," Huberdeau said. "He's a big guy, a strong guy that takes a lot of guys with him on the ice. I think him and Jagr are both big guys so I just try to take some time from them and I think they're two good players so it's going to be well. Of course, the loss of Barkov, he's a huge player and he plays two ways, but I think Bjugstad is a really good player and I have confidence in him."

Roberto Luongo is expected to start in net. Al Montoya made 28 saves in the loss to the Red Wings on Monday.

The Sabres will be without Girgensons because of a lower-body injury. Girgensons missed practice Monday, but played Saturday in the 2-1 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins. Marcus Foligno, who missed the game against the Bruins with a lower-body injury, returns to the lineup in Girgensons' place on a line with Jack Eichel and Matt Moulson.

"I'm not going to change up much," Foligno said. "If we get my forechecking abilities and the physical play I need to bring and get pucks to Jack, and Jack shooting and buzzing around the net tonight, we're going to have a lot of success. So I'm not going to change too much, just pick up where I left off, and when you're playing with a guy like Jack Eichel you always want to be good around him."

The Sabres may also be without center Johan Larsson. Larsson left the morning skate with what coach Dan Bylsma called "a little bit of an issue," and will be a game-time decision. Bylsma said if Larsson can't play they'll either call up a forward from Rochester of the American Hockey League or use seven defensemen.

"It's not a great rotation for the [defense]," Bylsma said. "There's only a certain amount of minutes in the game, and if you try to spread them between seven, it doesn't work very well. It's better if you have specialty players, meaning a power-play guy or a penalty-kill guy in that role."

Defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Cody Franson were the last two defenders off the ice at morning skate indicating they would normally be out of the lineup. If the Sabres have to use seven defensemen, Franson could be the extra.

Robin Lehner will start. He made 36 saves in the overtime loss to the Bruins on Saturday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Jonathan Huberdeau - Nick Bjugstad - Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen - Vincent Trocheck - Reilly Smith

Brandon Pirri - Derek MacKenzie - Logan Shaw

Quinton Howden - Corban Knight - Shawn Thornton

Dmitry Kulikov - Aaron Ekblad

Brian Campbell - Alex Petrovic

Steven Kampfer - Brent Regner

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Injured: Aleksander Barkov (upper body), Dave Bolland (lower body), Willie Mitchell (lower body), Erik Gudbranson (lower body)

Scratched: None


Jamie McGinn - Ryan O'Reilly - Sam Reinhart

Marcus Foligno - Jack Eichel - Matt Moulson

Evander Kane - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta

Daniel Catenacci - David Legwand - Nicolas Deslauriers

Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe - Zach Bogosian

Mike Weber - Mark Pysyk

Robin Lehner

Chad Johnson

Injured: Zemgus Girgensons (lower body), Tyler Ennis (upper body), Cody McCormick (blood clot)

Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo, Cody Franson

Status report: Franson has not been scratched this season, but played 12:07 and was a minus-1 against the Bruins on Saturday. … Thornton was the lone healthy forward scratched against the Red Wings who could get back in without need for a roster move.

Who's hot: Reinhart has a goal in two straight games. … O'Reilly has a three-game assist streak.

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