Although the Panthers did not disclose the injury when announcing his departure during the second period, Gudas was on the other end of a hit from Vegas Golden Knights forward Ivan Barbashev with 13:23 left in the first.
Barbashev was trying to gain control of the puck when Gudas was closing in before Barbashev delivered the hit.
Replays showed that Barbashev’s right shoulder connected with Gudas’ face and the back of Gudas’ head hit the ice as he fell to the ground. Gudas would skate back to the Panthers’ bench under his own power but immediately went to the team’s dressing room.
Gudas’ exit came shortly before Jonathan Marchessault scored a power-play goal to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead. Marchessault’s goal was the first of four unanswered Vegas would score to take a 4-0 lead with more than 13 minutes remaining in the second.
Florida coach Paul Maurice elected to play seven defenseman and 11 forwards for Game 3. So, even with Gudas’ exit, the Panthers had a full three pairs of blue-liners the rest of the way.
That said, Gudas adds to a growing list of injury concerns for the Panthers. Forward Eetu Luostarinen has missed both game so the Final, after sustaining an injury in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Florida Panthers lose Radko Gudas during 1st period of Game 2