Panthers’ Kyle Okposo set for first playoff game in 8 years

Florida Panthers forward Kyle Okposo will play in the postseason for the first time in eight years on Thursday when he takes the ice for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first-round series versus the host Tampa Bay Lightning.

Okposo, 36, last competed in the playoffs on May 8, 2016. He is drawing into the lineup with Ryan Lomberg ruled out due to illness.

“He’s very excited about the game,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “He will relish this, the opportunity. Serious pro, very detailed guy. He’s going to be all wired in for the game but there’s also going to be a piece of him that understands that there’s not 15 more seasons of playoffs ahead of him. This is something he needs to enjoy.”

Florida is enjoying a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Okposo has been held off the scoresheet in all six games this season with the Panthers. Florida acquired him on March 8 from the Buffalo Sabres, with whom he had 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists) in 61 games.

Okposo has 614 points (242 goals, 372 assists) in 1,051 career games with the New York Islanders (2007-16), Sabres (2016-24) and Panthers. The Islanders selected Okposo with the seventh overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft.

–Field Level Media