Aleksander Barkov Expected Back Thursday, Huberdeau Out

It was mixed news for the Panthers on Monday.

The team expects to get top-line center Aleksander Barkov and defenseman Erik Gudbranson back in the lineup Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes, according to Jameson Olive of the Panthers’ site. However, Jonathan Huberdeau has been ruled out of Thursday’s match.

“It’s always something,” coach Gerard Gallant said Monday, “but we’re happy to get [Barkov and Gudbranson] back.”

Feeling that it’s always something isn’t inaccurate. Every time the Panthers get a guy back in the lineup, someone else seems to go out.

Huberdeau, who leads the team in assists, left Saturday’s win over the Winnipeg Jets in the first period with an upper-body injury after crashing awkwardly into the boards. It came on a play where he was charging the net trying to get positioning on defenseman Jacob Trouba.

In addition to Huberdeau, the Panthers are without Willie Mitchell and Brandon Pirri, who are both on injured reserve.

Barkov has been out since taking a high hit from Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader on Feb. 9. Gudbranson has been out of the lineup since Feb. 4.

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