The Panthers are in a battle for first place in the Central Division but will be without a few regulars for a little while. The team announced (Twitter link) that goalie Chris Driedger has been ruled out for the rest of the road trip which takes him out for the next three games though he isn’t expected to be out much longer than that. Winger Patric Hornqvist is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Meanwhile, winger Carter Verhaeghe isn’t expected to play on the trip either, notes David Wilson of the Miami Herald. As a result, Florida entered tonight’s game down two of their top four scorers plus their top netminder statistically. Between that and Carolina holding two games in hand, the Panthers will have their work cut out for them if they want to secure that top seed.