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Panthers forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi to miss 2-3 weeks

Feb 25, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA;  Carolina Hurricanes center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (82) watches the play against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes, in a tie for the top spot in the Eastern Conference heading into play Thursday, will have to get by without forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi for up to three weeks because of a lower-body injury.

Kotkaniemi, who has 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) on the season, was injured during Monday’s 6-1 victory over the Washington Capitals when he was checked by Lars Eller.

The 21-year-old is in his first season with the Panthers and just signed an eight-year, $38.56-million deal with the team earlier this month.

“It’s going to be at least a couple weeks to three weeks,” Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “That’s long for me, so that’s not good.”

In a bit of fortunate timing, Carolina forward Jordan Martinook is expected to return from his own lower-body injury Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens after missing seven games. He is expected to take Kotkaniemi’s spot in the lineup.

–Field Level Media