Florida Panthers

Injuries continue to pile up, but short-handed Florida Panthers still beat Nashville

Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck (21) prepares to congratulate teammate Jonathan Marchessault (81) after he scored the game winning goal 2-1 against the Nashville Predators during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Sunrise, Fla.
Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck (21) prepares to congratulate teammate Jonathan Marchessault (81) after he scored the game winning goal 2-1 against the Nashville Predators during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Sunrise, Fla. AP

The Panthers were without two key players on Friday night, yet they held on to beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 at BB&T Center.

Goalie Roberto Luongo, who was supposed to start against the Predators, came out for warmups but didn’t start the game and later left the bench with an unknown injury.

Interim coach and general manager Tom Rowe said Luongo was not ill but said something happened in warmups without elaborating.

Florida started James Reimer in net against the Preds and had to turn to Bobby Segin — a team ticketing salesman who played at UConn — as the emergency backup.

The Panthers could recall former Colorado goalie Reto Berra before Saturday night’s game against the Bruins.

“The great thing about the goalies that we have is they’re terrific,” Rowe said. “We’re not sure on [Luongo]; it’s day to day. But Reimer did a terrific job.”

Florida lost center Nick Bjugstad to an undisclosed lower-body injury during the first period. Rowe said he hoped to have more of an update on Saturday.

The Panthers are already playing without forwards Jonathan Huberdeau, Sasha Barkov and Seth Griffith.

Despite being short-handed, the Panthers took a quick 1-0 lead on Greg McKegg’s second goal of the season (and in as many games), holding onto the lead until the third period.

Nashville tied the score when it caught the Panthers on a line change, with Mike Ribeiro feeding Craig Smith with a smooth cross-ice pass at 5:03 of the third.

But the Panthers took the lead back midway through the third when Jonathan Marchessault beat Juuse Saros with an odd-angled shot off a pass from Vincent Trocheck.

“As a team, I thought we played phenomenal; we were on top of them all night,” said Reimer, who was told he was playing after warmups were complete. “They’re a good team, are fast and can create chances. The guys really worked well.”

▪ The Boston Bruins were supposed to fly into Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport on Friday ahead of Saturday’s game but were diverted to Miami International following the airport’s closure.

Nashville was scheduled to bus to Miami following Friday’s game and take Boston’s plane to its next game in Chicago.

▪ The Panthers held a moment of silence for Friday’s mass shooting victims at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International, with some players — including Mike Matheson — writing “FLL” on their skates in silver marker.

“Our prayers and thoughts go to the families, and that’s the most important thing,” Rowe said. “It puts everything into perspective.”

Florida Panthers rookie defenseman Mike Matheson was shaken like many in South Florida on Friday as he followed the mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale International. Matheson played Friday's game with 'FLL' written on his skates.

Said Matheson: “I was sitting in my apartment when I heard the news, and it’s pretty crazy when you think of what happened. I wanted to do something to recognize the people who were affected but also people who stepped in and probably saved a lot of lives today.

“This is a pretty strong community; I’ve only been here half a year but everyone in South Florida is tight-knit. It’s tough to see something like that happen anywhere much less five minutes from where I live.”

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments