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Florida Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk wasn’t able to play in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

After Tuesday’s 9-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, Panthers coach Paul Maurice revealed the reason: The team’s leading scorer had a fractured sternum.

“He’s an incredibly bright young man, so he can assess his own game,” Maurice told NHL Network. “He knew, we all knew that the hope would be that if we could get five more days of rest into him, there was always a chance for Game 7.”

Though the injury kept him out of the Golden Knights’ clinching victory that ended the Panthers’ run of upsets, he was able to return in Game 3 after the injury-causing hit by Vegas’ Keegan Kolesar, and he played in limited fashion in Game 4.

GAME 5: Golden Knights rout Panthers to win first Stanley Cup title

“He fractured that and came back and scored the game-tying goal, net-front, and then you could see him in the next game trying to find a way to play with a broken bone and I think he had the three of the four best chances we had to score,” Maurice said.

He said Tkachuk didn’t dress himself for Game 4.

“Somebody helped him get his gear on. Somebody tied his skates. Somebody put his sweater on him,” he said. “But the next day, when he came in, he was in significant pain.”

Maurice added that Radko Gudas was playing through a high-ankle sprain and that defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who scored in Game 5, had broken his foot in the Boston series, popped out his shoulder twice and tore his oblique.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk misses Game 5 because of fractured sternum

Read the full article here

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