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Barkov status unclear for Panthers after injury in Game 2 of Cup Final |



Barkov’s teammates said little about the play, with forward Matthew Tkachuk saying, “I have no response or comment on that.”

Regardless of how they feel about the play, losing Barkov for any games in the Final would be a big blow for the Panthers, who are looking for their first Stanley Cup championship.

Voted the Selke Trophy winner as the best defensive forward in the NHL this season, Barkov has been a key part of shutting down Oilers superstar forwards Connor McDavid and Draisaitl through two games. McDavid had one assist and three shots on goal in Game 2, and Draisaitl was held without a point on two shots. Before the Oilers lost 3-0 in Game 1 on Saturday, McDavid (31 points; five goals, 26 assists) and Draisaitl (28 points; 10 goals, 18 assists) had combined for 59 points through 18 playoff games.

In fact, the NHL’s top three scorers in the postseason — McDavid, Draisaitl and Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (28 points; six goals, 22 assists) — have combined for two assists in the Final. Bouchard also had an assist Monday.

Barkov had two shots on goal in 17:47 of ice time in Game 2 after having two assists in 21:06 of ice time in Game 1.

With the series shifting to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4, the Oilers will have the last change and will be able to attempt to get favorable matchups for McDavid and Draisaitl’s lines.

Forward Evan Rodrigues, who scored two goals in the third period Monday, liked how the Panthers responded after seeing Barkov get injured.

“I think we rallied,” Rodrigues said. “We did what we had to do to win the game. You never want to see your captain go down, but I thought everyone did a great job, focused in, got the job done.”

Florida forward Kyle Okposo said, “I mean, yeah, obviously you don’t want to see anybody get hurt. But I thought we did a good job of sticking with it. And we found a way. It was a huge goal by ‘Roddie’ there to break the dam on the [power play] there (to make it 3-1 at 12:26) and I just thought we did a great job in the third period after that.”

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