Panthers lose another defenseman, Kulikov out 6-8 weeks

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Another day, another Florida defenseman down.

Just a few days after losing Ed Jovanovski to a broken hand, the Panthers learned they’d be without the services of blueliner Dmitry Kulikov for 6-8 weeks after the 21-year-old underwent knee surgery.

Kulikov injured his knee during Saturday’s win over Winnipeg but continued to play through it, logging over 22 minutes in the 4-3 shootout victory.

The loss is huge for the Panthers as the former first-round pick had emerged as a top-flight blueliner. Kulikov is second on the team in defenseman scoring while averaging over 22 minutes per night, leading all Florida rearguards in hits (83).

With Kulikov and Jovanovski out for the foreseeable future, the Panthers will now roll with a defensive unit of Brian Campbell, Jason Garrison, Mike Weaver, Erik Gudbranson, Keaton Ellerby and Tyson Strachan, who was recently recalled from AHL San Antonio.