Panthers ‘hopeful’ Aaron Ekblad will return in first spherical

Panthers ‘hopeful’ Aaron Ekblad will return in first spherical

Most individuals have forgotten that regardless of the Florida Panthers’ torrid tempo over the previous few months, defenseman Aaron Ekblad has been rehabbing a lower-body damage for concerning the previous six weeks. Head coach Andrew Brunette mentioned Ekblad was a full participant in Sunday’s observe and that the crew stays “hopeful” he returns sooner or later throughout the first-round collection in opposition to the Washington Capitals. If all goes easily for Ekblad, there’s even a chance he will likely be able to go for Game 1 on Tuesday night time.

It’s seemingly simply including insult to damage at this level for the Capitals, who’ll now should face the Presidents’ Trophy winner and the most well liked crew within the East with one other All-Star element added to the lineup. Ekblad was taking part in practically 25 minutes per sport previous to his damage, notching 57 factors in 61 video games, which nonetheless has him at ninth within the NHL amongst defensemen regardless of the damage. He’ll slide proper again right into a nightmare prime pairing for opponents with MacKenzie Weegar, who’s flourished within the No. 1 defenseman function since Ekblad’s damage.

Here are some extra damage notes…

  • Alex Ovechkin was a full participant at Capitals observe on Sunday, and Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press experiences it’s trying like he’ll costume for Game 1 in opposition to the Panthers. This is clearly an indescribable increase to the Caps’ probabilities on this collection, as they’ll want everybody firing on all cylinders to be able to pull off one of many largest attainable upsets in these playoffs. He leads the crew by a large margin with 50 objectives, and it seems to be like he’ll get an opportunity so as to add to his 71 profession playoff objectives and 135 profession playoff factors.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs obtained combined damage information at observe Sunday. Ondrej Kase, who hasn’t performed in six weeks, was a full participant in observe on Sunday, and it seems he’ll be within the lineup for Game 1 in opposition to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. However, whereas Michael Bunting practiced for the primary time since struggling an damage in opposition to Tampa final week, he wasn’t a full participant and left observe midway via. He’s extraordinarily uncertain for Game 1.

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