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Cup Final Notes: Suspensions, Barkov, Nurse, Ekblad, Luostarinen

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Don’t expect supplemental discipline to be announced today for a pair of Oilers forwards that laid controversial hits in last night’s Game 2 loss. Leon Draisaitl’s check to the head of Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov that knocked him out of the game will go unpunished past the two-minute minor assessed on the play, TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reports. Warren Foegele also won’t receive a suspension for his knee-on-knee hit on Eetu Luostarinen that got him tossed from the game in the first period, per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.

That’s good news for an Edmonton squad that needs to battle back from a 2-0 series deficit as the series shifts to their ice later this week. The Oilers became the first team since the Penguins in 2008 to score one goal or less in the first two games of a Stanley Cup Final. While they were dominant but stymied by Panthers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky in their Game 1 loss, Game 2 saw Florida’s defense limit the Oilers to 19 shots on goal and no high-danger chances at even strength. Draisaitl, in particular, would be a huge loss – he’s second on the club in playoff goals (10) and points (28) in 20 games.

Other updates from the Cup Final:

  • While Draisaitl will be available for Game 3, Barkov is a question mark. Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said today that his first-line center isn’t feeling any worse this morning after taking the German forward’s elbow to his jaw area but will undergo further evaluation tomorrow (via Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards). The team hasn’t confirmed the nature of Barkov’s injury, but speculation indicates he’s likely in concussion protocol. Barkov, 28, is tied for the team lead in postseason scoring with 19 points in 19 games and has averaged 21:31 per game, second to Sam Reinhart among Florida forwards.
  • Speaking to reporters via Zoom this morning, Oilers bench boss Kris Knoblauch had no update on the status of defenseman Darnell Nurse (per NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika). The much-maligned blue liner missed significant chunks of last night’s loss after taking an awkward hit from Panthers winger Evan Rodrigues late in the first period (video link). Nurse has just three assists and a -15 rating in 20 postseason contests thus far, and his potential absence for Game 3 would make way for Cody Ceci to re-enter the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the first time as an Oiler in Game 2.
  • Luostarinen and defenseman Aaron Ekblad both missed chunks of Game 2 with respective lower-body injuries, but they’ll be good to go moving forward, Maurice confirmed this morning (via the team’s Jameson Olive). Luostarinen wasn’t able to put any weight on his left leg while being helped off the ice after his collision with Foegele but managed to return before the end of the period. Ekblad, meanwhile, twisted his ankle awkwardly after getting tangled up with Oilers star Connor McDavid but still logged nearly 23 minutes of action in last night’s win.
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