Panthers will get ‘cornerstone players’ Barkov and Huberdeau back tonight

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The Florida Panthers will be getting a huge boost ahead of tonight’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.

On Friday morning, the team announced that forwards Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau have been cleared to return to the lineup.

Barkov’s missed the last 15 games with an upper-body injury, while Huberdeau has yet to play a game this season because of an Achilles injury he suffered during training camp.

“Sasha and Jonathan were cleared for contact earlier this week. As of today they have been cleared to return to our lineup and are ready to play,” president of hockey operations Dale Tallon said in a team release. “They are two of our young cornerstone players and have been adamant about getting back to game action. It’s exciting to have our team returning to full health as we continue our push to the playoffs.”

The Panthers trail the Philadelphia Flyers by four points in the chase for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Florida does have a game in hand. They’re also four points behind Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division (three games in hand).

If there was ever a time to go on a run, now would be just as good a time as any. Not only are they getting two key offensive pieces back, but they’ll also be going on their bye week after tonight’s game against Anaheim. That should allow them to be a little fresher for their upcoming five-game road trip out West.