The Panthers scored twice in the first half of the opening period of Saturday night’s game, and that was all they needed to beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 at BB&T Center thanks to another stellar performance from Roberto Luongo.
Luongo has helped Florida to a 2-0 start by stopping 44 of 46 shots faced in the Panthers’ first two games. He stopped 21 shots in Saturday’s victory.
“He has been great,” Keith Yandle said of Luongo. “Playing against him, you know how good he is, but playing with him you really realize how much he helps the [defense] back there making plays. He’s fun to play in front of.”
Said coach Gerard Gallant: “He didn’t make a ton of saves tonight, but he was sharp when he had to be. That’s what Lou is all about. Every time he needed to make a big save, he made it.”
Sasha Barkov and Jonathan Marchessault each scored their second goal of the season in the final minutes — Marchessault into an empty net — to ice the victory.
The Panthers didn’t wait long to grab the lead, as Vincent Trocheck scored 1:10 into the game by coming around the goal cage and jamming the puck off Detroit’s Dylan Larkin and past goalie Petr Mrazek.
Florida made it 2-0 midway through the period when Colton Sceviour got his first Panthers goal off a breakaway pass from Marchessault.
Detroit, which lost its opener in Tampa on Thursday when the Lightning scored four goals in the third, cut the deficit in half with 6:53 left in the first on a Darren Helm goal.
Florida dominated the play in the second period, outshooting the Red Wings 12-4, but Mrazek was terrific and the score stood.
Mzarek ended up with 34 saves as the tough-luck loser on Saturday. The Red Wings head home to Michigan 0-2 on their opening-season Florida swing.
“He was great,” Gallant said of the Detroit goalie.