Practice notebook: Paul Maurice ponders lineup change, several stars receive off day

The Florida Panthers took the ice on Monday for what they hope was their final practice of the season.

Florida will host the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday night at Amerant Bank Arena.

It will be the Cats’ second opportunity to clinch the series and hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.

practice notebook: paul maurice ponders lineup change, several stars receive off day

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The group was in good spirits on Monday, getting back to work on the fundamentals that made them an incredibly frustrating team to play against.

A few players did not skate – Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett and Aaron Ekblad – but afterwards Panthers Head Coach Paul Maurice said all three would be good to go for Game 5.

Maurice and his staff have often asked players to take days off throughout the regular season and playoffs to manage their workloads and keep everyone as healthy and fresh as possible.

Steven Lorentz and Nick Cousins skated with Carter Verhaeghe on Florida’s second line, indicating they were just keeping the spots warm for Bennett and Tkachuk,

Interestingly, Ryan Lomberg took regular shifts on Florida’s fourth line, skating alongside Kevin Stenlund and Kyle Okposo.

Could there be a lineup change in the works?

Maurice has kept the same 20 players since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.

It makes sense, as until Saturday in Edmonton, the Panthers hadn’t lost a game since Game 3 against the New York Rangers.

“I’m certainly considering it,” Maurice said when asked about the potential change.

Other than a potential move on that fourth line, Florida’s forward groups should otherwise look the same, with Evan Rodrigues skating with Sasha Barkov and Sam Reinhart, and Anton Lundell centering Eetu Luostarinen and Vladimir Tarasenko.

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practice notebook: paul maurice ponders lineup change, several stars receive off day

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