Updates on Gustav Forsling, goaltenders as Florida Panthers prepare to face Boston Bruins

Florida Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling (42) drives down the ice with the puck against Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) and Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) during the first period of an NHL game at FLA Live Arena on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 in Sunrise, Fl. (David Santiago/dsantiago@miamiherald.com)

Defenseman Gustav Forsling, who left for an extended period of the Florida Panthers’ 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Friday, will be in the lineup on Saturday as the Panthers play the Boston Bruins at FLA Live Arena to close out their pre-All-Star Break schedule.

“Fors is good to go,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said pregame Saturday. “We’re fine on our back end.”

Forsling has left in the second period in each of Florida’s past two home games ultimately to return.

Maurice said the injury Forsling sustained last week against the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 21 was “significant” but the defenseman still managed to return and ultimately score the game-winning goal in Florida’s 5-3 win.

And then on Friday, just six days later, Forsling crashed feet first into the boards at full speed while also being hit by the Kings’ Alex Turcotte about eight minutes into the second period. Forsling was helped off the ice by a team trainer and teammate Matthew Tkachuk and put no weight on his left leg.

Forsling went straight to the dressing room and didn’t play the rest of the second period but returned to play 10 shifts in the third and still managed to finish seventh on the team Friday in ice time (18:01).

”I didn’t think he was coming back,” Maurice said. “He is one tough cookie for the things that he’s gone down with here in the last two weeks and he surprised us by coming out on the bench. The concern is that he is playing on adrenaline.”

And while Forsling is not the big name among Florida defensemen, he has been a key contributor to the team in all situations. He has been on Florida’s top defense pairing all season, is on the second power-play unit and is key on the penalty kill.

He ranks second on the team in average ice time per game (23:44) behind only Brandon Montour. His 30 points (seven goals, 23 assists) are also second on the team among defensemen, again only trailing Montour (nine goals, 33 assists — 42 points). His 29 takeaways are fourth on the team and his 65 blocked shots are third.

Maurice said there will be one lineup change on Saturday: forward Chris Tierney will replace Colin White.

Goaltender updates

As for the goaltenders, it will be Alex Lyon once again in net on Saturday with Mack Guzda backing up.

Neither Sergei Bobrovsky (lower-body) or Spencer Knight (upper-body) will dress for the game, but Maurice said he is “hopeful” both will be good to go once the team resumes play after the All-Star Break on Feb. 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Saturday will be Lyon’s sixth consecutive appearance. He has spent every minute in net for the Panthers since relieving Bobrovsky 2:01 into the team’s 6-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 19.

The Panthers are 2-2-1 in those first five games with Lyon in net.