The Florida Panthers’ six-game winning streak ended on Saturday afternoon with an ugly 4-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
It was a complete clunker of a game that saw the Panthers get dominated in every phrase as they returned to the ice following their nine-day break.
The result of the game probably is not their biggest concern on Saturday. That has to be the status of center Aleksander Barkov after he exited the game mid-way through the second period with an undisclosed lower-body injury. He played just a little more than 10 minutes before leaving the game. The injury seems to have taken place when he became tangled up with Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber on this play, taking an awkward fall to the ice.
Another angle of the Weber hit on Barkov. pic.twitter.com/4TQYMz9K0V
— David Dwork (@DavidDwork) February 1, 2020
Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said after the game that the team is thinking the injury is not serious and that they will know more on Sunday.
If there is one player the Panthers can not afford to be without, it is Barkov.
He is not only their best overall player, he is one of the best all-around players in the entire NHL as he blends shutdown defense and elite offensive production into a complete top-line center package. He already has 54 points in the Panthers’ first 50 games, and along with Jonathan Huberdeau has helped the Panthers become one of the league’s best offensive teams. Even with all of that they still find themselves in quite a fight for a playoff spot. With Saturday’s loss in Montreal they are tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs at 61 points in the standings for the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. If Toronto beats Ottawa on Saturday night the Maple Leafs would move back into that spot, but the Panthers would still have two games in hand.