Defender Aaron Ekblad has been on the sidelines of the games for an estimated 12 weeks due to a fracture in his left leg, the hockey NHL said on its website.

Ekblad, the first defender of the Florida Panthers, was injured early Monday in Finnish time in a fighting situation with Esa Lindell of Dallas Stars.

A Canadian defender shouting in pain was taken out of the ice on a stretcher.

Ekblad, who underwent surgery, is on the sidelines at the end of the regular season.

He wouldn’t have time for the playoffs until late June, so Ekblad’s season is possibly over.

Ekblad has been numbered in his team's ice age statistics this season.

He has scored 11 + 11 = 22 in his 35 matches of the season.

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Florida's Finnish captain, Aleksander Barkov, who is playing through a great season, has also been on the sidelines of recent matches due to a lower limb injury.

Barkov will probably be on the sidelines in Finnish time from the Detroit match starting at 2 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

However, Florida head coach Joel Quenneville had said at a press conference before the Detroit game that Barkov would return to the trough “at some point during the home game pipeline”.

Florida will face Detroit twice and then Columbus twice at home this week.

Mikko Lehtonen, a Finnish defender who moved to Columbus Blue Jackets just over a couple of weeks ago from Toronto Maple Leafs, will finally be able to take action in his new company.

Columbus said Lehtonen is in a night match against Tampa Bay Lightning in a three-pack pair with Dean Kukan.

Lehtonen, 27, came to the NHL this season from the KHL Joker.

He played nine matches in Toronto with powers of 0 + 3.

Columbus said after acquiring Lehtonen that this is related to the strength of the team after getting the work permit issues in order and clearing the corona quarantine.

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The match between Columbus and Tampa Bay will start on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday at 2 pm Finnish time.