SUNRISE — Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe is in the lineup after leaving Thursday’s morning skate early.
The former Lightning forward skated on the top line with center Aleksander Barkov and fellow winger Claude Giroux during pre-game warmups.
Florida interim coach Andrew Brunette had said earlier in the day that Verhaeghe would be a game-time decision at FLA Live Arena.
“It’s just bumps and bruises of a playoff series,” Brunette said.
Verhaeghe, who had a team-high 12 points in the Panthers’ opening-round series against Washington, also was a game-time decision for Game 6 against the Capitals, dealing with an unspecified injury.
The former Lightning forward wound up playing that night and scored the winning goal in overtime to help the team advance to the second round for the first time since 1996.
Verhaeghe went out on the ice for Thursday’s skate but left early. Forward Maxim Mamin, who played in Games 5 and 6 against the Capitals, skated in Verhaeghe’s spot on the top line alongside Barkov and Giroux.
Verhaeghe had three shots on goal while playing 16:54 in Tuesday’s series opener against the Lightning,
Lightning named ‘Sports Team of the Year’
The back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Lightning on Wednesday were named Sports Business Journal’s “Sports Team of the Year.”
According to a news release, this year marked the fourth straight season the Lightning finished in the top three in overall league attendance, and new season ticket revenue totaled $5.7 million, while sponsorship revenue numbers were 120 percent of the NHL league average, including a 10 percent year-over-year increase.
Lightning CEO Steve Griggs accepted the award in New York on behalf of the team.
Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene
Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
“Another trophy we can drink out of,” Griggs said in the release. “We have a saying at the Lightning — excellence with humility. Each and every day, every game, presentation, every fan experience is about excellence.”
Brunette named Jack Adams Award finalist
Brunette was named a finalist for the Jack Adams award, which goes to the NHL’s coach of the year. The Rangers’ Gerard Gallant and Flames’ Darryl Sutter are the other finalists.
“It’s in incredible honor,” Brunette said. “To be in the same breath as Jack Adams, even as a nomination, and the guys I’m with in Darryl and Gerard, that’s two of the best all-tim,e and to be even in that group is terribly humbling.”
Brunette, 48, took over coaching duties in late October after Joel Quenneville resigned following an NHL investigation into sexual assault allegations made by Kyle Beach against a member of the Blackhawks’ coaching staff when Quenneville was the head coach in 2010.
Brunette coached the Panthers to their first Presidents’ Trophy-winning season while setting numerous single-season franchise season records, including most points (122) and wins (58).
If selected, Brunette would be the first Panthers coach to win the honor.
Round 2 schedule
Game 1 — Lightning at Panthers, 4-1 win (Lightning lead series 1-0)
Game 2 — Lightning at Panthers, 7 tonight *Watch party at Amalie Arena’s Thunder Alley
Game 3 — Panthers at Lightning, 1:30 p.m. Sunday
Game 4 — Panthers at Lightning, 7 p.m. Monday
Game 5 — Lightning at Panthers, Wednesday, May 25 (if necessary)
Game 6 — Panthers at Lightning, Friday, May 27 (if necessary)
Game 7 — Lightning at Panthers, Sunday, May 29 (if necessary)
Bally Sports Sun is hosting an hour-long live postgame show throughout the series. The show will feature highlights and interviews with the players and head coach Jon Cooper, in addition to insight from Lightning play-by-play broadcaster Dave Randorf, analyst Brian Engblom and host Paul Kennedy. Watch online at BallySports.com, on TV or in the Bally Sports app.
• • •
Sign up for Lightning Strikes, a weekly newsletter from Bolts beat writer Eduardo A. Encina that brings you closer to the ice.