It looks like the Florida Panthers will still be missing Eetu Luostarinen in the lineup.
Panthers head coach Paul Maurice confirmed shortly ahead of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights that the Panthers center will not be returning to the lineup for the game.
Luostarinen has been out of the lineup since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes due to a lower-body injury. He only logged 7:32 of ice time in the game, leaving midway through the second period, although it’s still unknown what caused the injury. It was announced before the Cup Final that he was expected to be back in time for Game 1, but his injury has kept him out of the lineup for both games in Vegas to start the series.
Luostarinen has had a solid playoff run, with two goals, three assists, and five points in 16 games during the Panthers run to the Stanley Cup Final. This comes after a career year in the regular season, where he set new career-highs in goals with 17, assists with 26, and points with 43 in 82 games.
Ryan Lomberg has replaced Luostarinen on his usual spot on the third line with Sam Reinhart and Anton Lundell so far, and Zac Dalpe has come into the lineup as a result of the injury. Lomberg has one goal in nine games so far in the playoffs for the Panthers, while Dalpe has one goal in ten games.
Luostarinen was a second round pick of the Hurricanes in 2017, and played eight games with the Canes before he was dealt to the Panthers as part of the return for Vincent Trocheck in 2020. Luostarinen is in the final year of a two-year deal with a $1.5 million cap hit, and is set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason.
The Panthers were hoping they’d get Luostarinen back by now, especially considering that they currently find themselves down 1-0 in the Cup Final to the Golden Knights. They’ll look to even the series on Monday night before heading home for two games in Sunrise, Florida.