Panthers announce status of Matthew Tkachuk for Game 5

Will he be able to play?



This isn't exactly unfamiliar territory for the Florida Panthers, but this time, the stakes are just a bit higher.

They find themselves trailing three games to one to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final following Saturday night's combative 3-2 victory for the visiting Golden Knights. Florida is now in a do-or-die situation for the second time in the postseason; their first such attempt was successful, as they rallied from the same deficit against the 65 win Boston Bruins for perhaps the biggest upset in recent postseason history.

But there's a possibility that they could be without one of their leading candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy for tomorrow night's Game 5 back in Vegas. Forward Matthew Tkachuk, who has proven himself to be invaluable to the Panthers not only during the regular season but in the playoffs, is currently ailing with a lower body injury and did not skate in today's optional practice at T-Mobile Arena.

When will his status be announced? According to head coach Paul Maurice, they'll have an official answer prior to tomorrow' game. 

"Update will be tomorrow," Maurice said Monday. "You'll get all that big information tomorrow night."

"That's a tough question," Tkachuk answered when asked what it would take for him to ultimately not play in Game 5. "I don't really want to talk about that right now."

Tkachuk is Florida's leading scorer during the postseason with 11 goals and 24 points. Tomorrow's Game 5 will begin starting at 8:00 PM EST.