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Barkov needs further evaluation for Game 3 status

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Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov will continue to be evaluated before his status for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final is determined.

Barkov didn't play the final 9:28 of Monday's Game 2 after taking a high hit from Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl.

Panthers head coach Paul Maurice had no postgame update on Barkov, but noted Tuesday that the Selke Trophy winner needs more time to recover.

"It wasn't worse, so that's good for us. The real update will come tomorrow," Maurice said, per Florida Hockey Now's Colby Guy.

Maurice added: "We had some things to get looked at today, they got that and there's nothing sinister there, but you got to give it another 24 hours to make sure he's feeling strong and effective. If he continues to progress, he'll be a player for us."

Draisaitl received a two-minute minor for roughing on the play and won't face supplemental discipline, according to Sportsnet.

When pressed for his feelings on the hit, Maurice responded with some of his patented dry humor.

"This isn't 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,'" he said. "My feelings don't matter."

Draisaitl explained his perspective of the hit.

"I don't think that's frustration," he said, per The Athletic's Daniel Nugent-Bowman. "It was just a hit. I don't think there's anything dirty about it. Maybe I got him a little high. Certainly not with intent to injure, though, or anything like that."

Draisaitl has never been suspended in his 10-year NHL career. He's been fined twice, though: for spearing in 2017 and for tripping in 2023.

Barkov has recorded 19 points in 19 games this postseason. The 2024 Selke Trophy winner has also played a key role in neutralizing the opponent's top lines.

"You never want to see your captain go down," Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues said.

The Panthers won Monday's contest 4-1 to take a 2-0 series lead.

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