Panthers C Aleksander Barkov to return to lineup

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov will play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night, coach Paul Maurice confirmed.

Barkov left the Game 3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes with a lower-body injury, hurt when he was hit by Carolina’s Jack Drury.

Barkov was a full participant in Wednesday morning’s skate.

The Panthers lead the series 3-0 as they seek their second Stanley Cup Final in franchise history. In 1996, Florida was swept by the Colorado Avalanche.

Barkov has been a key contributor this season. The 27-year-old center is in his 10th season with the Panthers and had 78 points (23 goals, 55 assists) in 68 games. He has added four goals and eight assists in 15 playoff games.