Florida Panthers On Track To Get Huge Boost Friday—X2

The Florida Panthers had a five-game winning streak snapped Thursday night in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, but the news was much better on Friday morning, as word circulated that they could have their top two defensemen, Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad back in the lineup for their second game in two nights, Friday against the Anaheim Ducks. Both have been activated. 

"We might get a couple players back in our lineup that would excite the group," head coach Paul Maurice said. "And you need a little jolt on a back-to-back."

Both D-men have missed the entire season to date after undergoing summer shoulder surgeries, but both have now reached the point of return. Each of Montour and Ekblad received medical clearance several days ago, and have been practicing with the team for several weeks.

Certainly, the Panthers have held their own without the fearsome twosome on the blueline, with a 10-3-1 record over their past 14 games. The Panthers are getting healthy, as center Sam Bennett also played his first full game of the year last Sunday. Now, getting Montour and Ekblad back in the lineup for the first time since Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals means the rest of the NHL should be in real trouble against the defending Eastern Conference champs. 

Photo: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports