Updates on Status of Injured Barkov, Nurse in Advance of Game 3

Two notable hits in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals have left two players' status in question for Game 3. 

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov took a blow to the head from the Edmonton Oilers' Leon Draisaitl, and was forced to leave the game with a head injury. Upon re-evaluation this morning, the news is good—so far. 

"He wasn't worse (Tuesday morning), so that's a really good thing," said head coach Paul Maurice. "The real assessment will be tomorrow." He's still hoping that Barkov will be good to go Thursday night in Edmonton. 

Draisaitl was handed a two-minute roughing penalty on the play, in which his elbow "connected" with Barkov's jaw.

Should the Oilers' superstar be facing a suspension for the head hit? It doesn't appear that that's in the cards, but Maurice certainly wasn't too happy about it after the game. Though he wouldn't expand on his "feelings" about the play:

“This isn’t The Oprah Winfrey Show. My feelings don’t matter," was the droll answer from Maurice. 

On the Edmonton side, defenseman Darnell Nurse took a bruising hit from Evan Rodrigues in the corner in the first period, and though he insisted on coming back to the bench, he was only able to play two shifts after that from the second period on. 

Nurse's status is still unknown as of Tuesday morning, though his refusal to leave the bench as the game went on indicates that he'll try to gut it out Thursday night. 

It's been a rough playoffs for Nurse, who is challenging the record for the worst plus/minus in one playoff year. 

The Panthers won Game 2 by a score of 4-1 and now lead the Stanley Cup Final two games to none with the series heading to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4. 

Photo: © Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports