Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice told reporters Tuesday morning that he knows the playing status of star forward Matthew Tkachuk ahead of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final
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One problem: Maurice isn’t sharing that information — well, until right before the puck drops on Tuesday night, that is.
“Gametime decision is a wonderful out for all of you (reporters), but that’s when I will share the decision,” Maurice said in reference to the status of Tkachuk, who is nursing an apparent upper-body injury.
Tkachuk didn’t practice on Monday after missing much of the third period of Game 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers lost that game 3-2 to fall behind three games to one in the best-of-seven finals
Tkachuk also was sidelined for part of Game 3 on Thursday due to a possible head injury.
“He’s a huge player for our team,” Florida captain Aleksander Barkov said of Tkachuk, a finalist for the Hart Trophy. “No matter what, everyone has to step up a little bit and play a little better than we’ve been. It doesn’t matter what happens. As a whole group, we’ve just got to play a little better. (We have to) shoot more pucks, be more aggressive offensively, do better defensively, all that kind of stuff.”
Tkachuk, 25, has recorded a team-leading 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in 20 playoff games.
He also posted career-high totals in assists (69) and points (109) in his first season with Florida after he was acquired in an offseason trade that sent Jonathan Huberdeau to Calgary.
–Field Level Media