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Panthers' Bennett out at least a week with apparent hand injury

Eliot J. Schechter / National Hockey League / Getty

Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett will miss seven days or more after absorbing teammate Brandon Montour's shot with his hand Tuesday night, head coach Paul Maurice said Wednesday.

Maurice likened Bennett's relatively short recovery timetable to hearing his car was in an accident but discovering it was only a fender bender, according to team reporter Jameson Olive.

“Got to the rink and got great news,” the bench boss added.

Montour's shot hit Bennett in the left hand in the second period of Game 2 of the Panthers' first-round playoff matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bennett immediately departed and didn't return.

The Panthers referred to Bennett's ailment as an upper-body injury.

Bennett had been centering the Panthers' second line between Carter Verhaeghe and Matthew Tkachuk.

The injured center opened the scoring and then drew the primary assist on Vladimir Tarasenko's goal that gave Florida a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 overtime victory.

Bennett produced 20 goals and 21 assists over 69 games during the regular season. He's in his third full campaign (and fourth in total) with the Panthers, who acquired him in a trade with the Calgary Flames in April 2021.

The Ontario-born pivot, who'll turn 28 on June 20, also racked up 173 hits in 2023-24.

Florida holds a 2-0 series lead. Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday at Tampa's Amalie Arena.

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