Ryan Lomberg FLA in for GM5

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Ryan Lomberg will return to the Florida Panthers lineup for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, marking the first time he’s played since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

Lomberg has been a healthy scratch for the past seven games. The Panthers won the first six, but after losing Game 4 in Edmonton on Saturday, they will opt to return Lomberg to the fourth line with center Kevin Stenlund and forward Kyle Okposo. Steven Lorentz will be scratched to make room for Lomberg.

“Obviously tremendously excited,” said Lomberg, who has no points in five Stanley Cup Playoff games. “Great opportunity for myself and the team here. So it’s going to be tough to mix in a pregame nap here, but come gametime I’ll be ready to go.”

Lomberg will return in a game where the Panthers have the chance to clinch the Stanley Cup. They lead 3-1 in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final, with Game 5 set for Amerant Bank Arena on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, SN, TVAS, CBC).

Asked what he might bring to the lineup, Lomberg said, “Probably energy. Speed. I’ve got a full gas tank, so I’ll be excited to let some of it go there.”

Lomberg played in 13 games in the playoffs last season, when the Panthers made it to the Final and lost in five games to the Vegas Golden Knights. He had one goal during that run.

“He’s very important,” Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov said. “He’s a vocal guy. Everybody sees what he is doing on the ice. He’s electric. He’s fast. He’s physical. He brings that fun energy in the locker room and on the ice. And in the games, he’s never quiet and that’s a good thing. He brings a lot of that to the team and we’re happy to have him.”

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Coach Paul Maurice said Lomberg was taken out of the lineup after the Panthers lost two consecutive games in overtime to the Rangers and he wanted to make a shift, and then kept him out because Florida went on a run.

“Great energy that he brings to our room,” Maurice said. “But, to give him credit, he also brings it when he wasn’t in our lineup. … If he had been sullen and disappointed and shown that, then he has to change his personality to come back in the lineup. Now is he running around high-fiving everybody? But his personality didn’t change when he was out.”

Lomberg is in his fourth season with the Panthers, making him part of a team that has become one of the powerhouses in the NHL. And though it has been difficult to sit out for the past three weeks, he’s thrilled to be back in with a chance to win the Cup.

“It’s tough to put into words,” he said, of the opportunity ahead of him. “It’s something we’ve been working our whole lives to achieve and something that has been in front of us at least the last couple years. It’ll be as tough as ever to cross that line. But obviously I’m looking forward to that opportunity.”

Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett and Aaron Ekblad all took part in morning skate on Tuesday ahead of Game 5. The three players did not practice on Monday, but Maurice had said they were “all good.”

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