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Panthers' Verhaeghe expected ready for Game 1 of playoffs

Carter Verhaeghe Florida Panthers Carter Verhaeghe - The Canadian Press

Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice issued updates on injured stars Carter Verhaeghe and Aaron Ekblad Monday as the clock ticks closer to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Maurice said via team reporter Jameson Olive that Verhaeghe has been skating every day recently and should be ready to go for Game 1 next weekend. Maurice said he would like to see Ekblad get two hard practices in before being activated for Game 1. 

Verhaeghe is currently week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 1. 

“We have lots of confidence he’ll be ready for start of the playoffs,” Maurice said of Verhaeghe last week. “He may make the last game, but we don’t think he’ll play many regular-season games.” 

Verhaeghe has 33 goals and 38 assists in 75 games this season, his fourth with the team. 

Ekblad suffered an undisclosed injury the night after and Maurice told reporters last week he is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season, but could return in time for Game 1. 

The defenceman has four goals and 14 assists in 51 games this season, his 10th in Florida since being selected No. 1 overall in 2014.