Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice told reporters Tuesday morning that he knows the playing status of star forward Matthew Tkachuk ahead of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final
One problem: Maurice isn't sharing that information -- well, until right before the puck drops on Tuesday night, that is.
"Gametime decision is a wonderful out for all of you (reporters), but that's when I will share the decision," Maurice said in reference to the status of Tkachuk, who is nursing an apparent upper-body injury.
Tkachuk didn't practice on Monday after missing much of the third period of Game 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers lost that game 3-2 to fall behind three games to one in the best-of-seven finals
Tkachuk also was sidelined for part of Game 3 on Thursday due to a possible head injury.
"He's a huge player for our team," Florida captain Aleksander Barkov said of Tkachuk, a finalist for the Hart Trophy. "No matter what, everyone has to step up a little bit and play a little better than we've been. It doesn't matter what happens. As a whole group, we've just got to play a little better. (We have to) shoot more pucks, be more aggressive offensively, do better defensively, all that kind of stuff."
Tkachuk, 25, has recorded a team-leading 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in 20 playoff games.
He also posted career-high totals in assists (69) and points (109) in his first season with Florida after he was acquired in an offseason trade that sent Jonathan Huberdeau to Calgary.
--Field Level Media