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Ekblad out for regular season; Panthers confident about status for playoffs

Aaron Ekblad Florida Panthers Aaron Ekblad - Getty Images

Florida Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad will likely miss the rest of the regular season but the team is confident he will be ready for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, head coach Paul Maurice told reporters Thursday.

"This is not new and it's not unknown to us, what it is. He's got a real good handle on how long it's going to take. He's progressing really well," Maurice said via team reporter Jameson Olive.

Ekblad suffered an undisclosed injury in Florida' game against the Montreal Canadiens in the first period and did not return. Maurice did not have an update on the veteran blueliner after the game. The 28-year-old played 7:06 before departing, registering one shot on goal in a 5-3 loss.

The former No. 1 overall pick has four goals and 14 assists in 51 games this season, his 10th with the organization. He also missed time with a lower-body injury earlier this season.

Florida enters play Thursday second in the Atlantic Division with 99 points at 47-24-5 having already clinched a playoff spot. They will take on the Senators in Ottawa Thursday night.