Panthers center Matthias likely out after collision with boards in Boston

NEWARK NJ - JANUARY 23: Shawn Matthias #18 of the Florida Panthers skates for the puck during a game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 23 2011 in Newark New Jersey. (Photo by Lou Capozzola/Getty Images)


No video available as yet, but anyone who saw the impact of Shawn Matthias' knee against the rear dasher at TD Garden on Wednesday could plainly see the young center was in pain following a slip of the skates while driving toward the Bruins' net in an eventual Boston 2-1 victory.

The 22 year-old forward - with 36 points in 121 career NHL games - left the game with a three-game point streak coming into Boston. A further medical evaluation is forthcoming.

In case the worst becomes reality, Florida has few options from within: Stephen Weiss, Michael Santorelli, and Marty Reasoner are the only natural centers onboard with the Cats at present. Recently-benched forward Steve Bernier may provide an alternative, perhaps freeing up others to cover the empty center spot on a rotating basis, from among those already on the roster. Short of a very unexpected trade to fill such a hole, the Big Question hovers over Rochester.

Center Mark Cullen - initially thought to be a major player among the Panthers' third or fourth lines before training camp - remains several weeks away from return due to injury, while one would assume Amerks' forwards Scott Timmins or more likely Bill Thomas will be the prime candidates for a recall.

Our best to Matty - a guy whom we've been very supportive of over the past couple of years - and the speediest of returns. He's part of the solution.

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