|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET22:00 BRT, November 18, 2021
FLA Live Arena, Sunrise, Florida Attendance: 12,157
Panthers set to face Devils without Aleksander Barkov
The Florida Panthers will be without captain Aleksander Barkov on Thursday night when they host the New Jersey Devils.
Barkov is considered week-to-week but will not require surgery for a lower-body injury sustained in Tuesday night's 6-1 win against the New York Islanders.
Interim head coach Andrew Brunette updated the 26-year-old center's condition following a knee-to-knee hit from Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield.
"Could've been worse. We'll deal with it as we go," Brunette said Wednesday. "No surgery. We'll evaluate it as we go. Like I said, week-to-week."
"A tough guy to see go down," Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist said of Barkov. "He's our leader and best player. We need him. I hope he's alright."
Panthers winger Carter Verhaeghe said he saw Barkov walking into the locker room following Tuesday's game, and he didn't think the injury looked that bad.
Florida has been streaky this season, starting 10-0-1 before going 0-2-2 and then skating the Islanders off the rink on Tuesday.
"I really liked our compete (level)," Brunette said. "(We) compete really hard as a group. (Panthers players) are fun to be around because they are non-stop - compete, compete, compete."
The Devils have been streaky, too. In their past eight games, they have lost three straight, won three in a row and gone down to defeat in their past two contests. They are 3-2-3 in the run.
The Devils have been off since losing 4-3 in a seven-round shootout at the New York Rangers on Sunday.
Like the Panthers, the Devils have an injury concern as goalie Mackenzie Blackwood was removed near the end of the Rangers game and is in concussion protocol.
Jonathan Bernier is likely to start in goal on Thursday.
Devils rookie Dawson Mercer said he didn't initially see how Blackwood got hurt.
"But when you see the replay, I think he got a bump up high," Mercer said. "He had to get it checked out, but Bernier gave us a good showing."
The Devils made a big offseason move on July 28 when they signed stellar defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year, $63-million contract.
Hamilton, who has three goals in his past five games, has nine points in 11 contests this season. Four Devils are tied for the team lead with 11 points: Pavel Zacha, Andreas Johnsson, Mercer and Jesper Bratt.
Zacha leads the team with seven goals. Bratt and Nico Hischier top the squad with seven assists each.
Blackwood is 2-0-1 with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage. Bernier is 4-2-1 with a 2.68 GAA and a .910 save percentage.
For the Panthers, starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has yet to lose in regulation (7-0-2, 1.78/.942). Rookie backup Spencer Knight has been solid (4-2-1, 3.27/.887).
Offensively, Barkov leads the team in goals (nine) and points (17). Jonathan Huberdeau and surprising defenseman Gustav Forsling are tied for the team lead with 10 assists each.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 17, 2021