The Florida Panthers’ captain will play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final while the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights may each be down a forward in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The best-of-7 Conference Finals of the NHL‘s Stanley Cup Playoffs could each end in four games, as the Florida Panthers are up 3-0 over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final, while the Vegas Golden Knights are up 3-0 over the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final. The Panthers and the Golden Knights can each clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Final with one more win. Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final is on Wednesday night, while Game 4 of the Western Conference Final is on Thursday night.
Panthers’ center Aleksander Barkov left Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final with a lower-body injury in the first period of Game 3 on Monday night. The Panthers pulled through without their captain, sealing a victory with a 1-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. There was reason to worry, though, that they’d be without Barkov for a potential series-clinching Game 4.
NHL Playoffs: Good injury news for Panthers, potentially bad news for Golden Knights and Stars
The Panthers had some good news on Wednesday ahead of Game 4 as head coach Paul Maurice revealed that Sasha Barkov is “ready to roll.” Barkov participated in the team’s morning skate prior to Game 4. He has scored four goals and contributed eight assists so far in the playoffs. The Panthers are confident heading into a potential series-clincher with their captain’s leadership guiding the way.
In the Western Conference, both teams in the Western Conference Final have been dealt a blow. Golden Knights forward Brett Howden is uncertain for Game 4 against the Stars after aggravating a lower-body injury during Game 3. Howden has three goals and three assists in the playoffs. Jesse Granger of The Athletic and NHL Network reported that head coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t yet sure of Howden’s status for Thursday night’s game. The game is a potential series-clincher for the Golden Knights.
On the other side of the ice for Game 4, the Stars also have injury news. Forward Evgenii Dadonov left Tuesday night’s game with a lower-body injury after colliding with teammate Roope Hintz. He was ruled out from returning to the game during the second period. Dadonov has four goals and six assists for the Stars in the playoffs. Stars head coach Pete DeBoer says that Dadonov is doubtful for Game 4, which is a must-win game for Dallas, who could be eliminated on Thursday night.
The Panthers and the Golden Knights look to punch their tickets to the Stanley Cup Final, while the Hurricanes and Stars will try to fend off elimination. The Panthers should be back at full strength in their matchup against the Canes, while the Golden Knights and Stars may each be down a player in their big game. The teams will need to make adjustments in their quest for the Cup.