The Panthers will be without defenseman Dmitry Kulikov for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Blues.
How long he will be out of the lineup will be determined soon.
Kulikov has been suspended by the NHL for his rolling hip check on Dallas’ Tyler Seguin in the third period of Florida’s 2-0 loss to the Stars.
Seguin, second in the NHL in scoring this year and Dallas’ leader with 29 goals, had to be helped off the ice after being taken out at the knees. Seguin was placed on the injured reserve list by the Stars on Saturday and is expected to miss a few weeks at minimum.
“It’s a dirty shot, something that takes your best player not only out of the game, but out of our lineup for a little bit,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said afterward.
“Let the league deal with it. I used to yell and scream about things like this, and it didn’t do any good. It’s just a shot that didn’t need to happen.’’
The league is obviously dealing with it.
Kulikov was granted an in-person hearing by the NHL’s player safety department, but he turned it down and will instead have his hearing over the phone Monday.
That means Kulikov will be given the opportunity to plead his case because his suspension could be in excess of five games — starting with Sunday’s matchup with the Blues.
Kulikov was given a five-minute major for clipping and a 10-minute game misconduct. He left the ice with 6:55 remaining in the game.
Florida coach Gerard Gallant was seen discussing things with the officials, drawing boos from the crowd at American Airlines Center.
After the game, Gallant said he wasn’t arguing with the officials over Kulikov’s on-ice penalty, but he said he was just getting clarification.
“It was the right call,” Gallant said. “It was a five minute and a game misconduct. There’s no issue.”
With Kulikov out, the Panthers recalled veteran defenseman Shane O’Brien from their AHL affiliate in San Antonio.
This will be O’Brien’s third stint with the Panthers. The 31-year-old has played in four games with Florida and has appeared in 532 NHL games over the course of his career.
The Panthers had sent Dylan Olsen to San Antonio after he cleared waivers on Jan. 30.
Olsen wasn’t available for recall, however, as he has yet to report to the minors.
The Panthers said Olsen is dealing with a “personal matter” and is home in Canada. It’s not known whether Olsen has been skating or plans on reporting to the Rampage.
In a span of 13 days, the Panthers play seven road games with only one at home.
And just their luck, it’s the Blues who are waiting for them in South Florida.
The Blues, who dismantled the Lightning 6-3 in Tampa on Thursday, have won nine of their past 11. St. Louis has also won five in a row against the Panthers.
After Sunday’s game, Florida takes off again — this time for five games. The Panthers will play three games in Canada (Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa) before visiting Pittsburgh and Chicago.
“We have a really tough matchup against St. Louis; we know how good they are,” defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. “The games are getting tight, and we know that. [Friday’s loss] is a tough one to swallow, but we’ll regroup.”
▪ Defenseman Alex Petrovic laughed off his disappearing act on Friday. Petrovic went to check Vern Fiddler into the boards, only Fiddler quickly stopped with Petrovic continuing.
As Petrovic hung halfway over the boards — there was no glass because it was between the two benches — Fiddler pushed Petrovic the rest of the way.
“I guess they don’t have boards like that in the AHL,” Petrovic said with a smile. “I thought I could get him, then he pulled a fast one on me. That’s OK, though.”
Sunday: Blues at Panthers
When, Where: 5 p.m.; BB&T Center, Sunrise
TV/Radio: FSFL; WQAM 560
Series: St. Louis leads 18-7-3
Noteworthy: The Panthers lost out to the Blues in their only other meeting this year 4-2 as two pucks went in off Florida players and the other went into an empty net.