The youthful talent the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers both possess was on display Wednesday.
Auston Matthews scored — again. The rookie forward is up to 17 goals on the year. William Nylander also scored for Toronto, while Vincent Trocheck, 23, and Jonathan Marchessault, 26, scored for Florida.
Unfortunately, though, for the Panthers, one of their top young players, Aleksander Barkov, was forced to leave the game early in the second period with an apparent injury.
Replays show Barkov was hit up high with the puck following an offensive zone faceoff. He finished his shift, which resulted in a scoring chance at the side of the net, but he was clearly in pain after the whistle went.
The Panthers forced overtime with a pair of third-period goals but lost 3-2 in the shootout, with Mitch Marner scoring the lone goal in the deciding breakaway contest.
There was no update on Barkov from coach Tom Rowe following the game.
“Losing him is like losing (Sidney) Crosby in Pittsburgh,” said Trocheck after the game.
Indeed, it would be a huge loss for the Panthers if Barkov is forced to miss time. He has nine goals and 27 points in 35 games, but is charging along with a 57.5 per cent Corsi For rating at five-on-five this season.