Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad will likely miss the rest of the regular season with an undisclosed injury, but coach Paul Maurice firmly believes the veteran will return for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Ekblad played only 7:16 before leaving Tuesday’s loss at Montreal after a skirmish with Canadiens forward Juraj Slafkovsky late in the first period.

“I don’t think he plays the rest of the regular season,” Maurice told reporters. “But we are quite confident that he’s 100% and ready to go by the first game [of the playoffs].

“This is not new and it’s not unknown to us. He’s got a real good handle on how long it’s going to take and he’s progressing really well today from it, so we’re getting there. We’re going to miss him.”

Ekblad, 28, who has missed 25 games this season, has 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 51 games. He is in his 10th season with the Panthers and has 347 points in 676 career games.

Josh Mahura will take Ekblad’s spot on the blue line when the Panthers visit Ottawa on Thursday. Mahura, 25, has eight assists in 26 games this season.

Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe, who has 71 points this season (33 goals, 38 assists), is listed as week-to-week after suffering an upper-body injury in Monday’s loss to Toronto.