Panthers Hurricanes Hockey

Florida Panthers' Aleksander Barkov (16) congratulates Eric Staal (12) following overtime in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, May 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Florida captain Aleksander Barkov left Game 3 of the Panthers' Eastern Conference finals matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night with a lower body injury.

The Panthers listed him as questionable to return, with no other specifics offered on the nature of the problem.

Barkov took a hit from Carolina's Jack Drury with about 7 minutes left in the opening period, without any obvious signs of major discomfort afterward. Barkov returned to the Florida bench after the shift and took a seat briefly before talking with someone from the Panthers' medical staff and departing for the locker room.

He was appearing to favor his left side as he left the bench and went up the tunnel. The Panthers announced the diagnosis midway through the second period.

Barkov had four goals and eight assists for 12 points in Florida's first 14 games in this playoff run. The Panthers entered Monday with a 2-0 lead in the East finals, trying to get to the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 1996.

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