Florida Panthers

Panthers lose wild shootout in Philly as Luongo is injured

James Reimer takes over for Florida Panthers

James Reimer has been thrust into the role of starting goalie for the Florida Panthers after Roberto Luongo left Thursday's game early and is out indefinitely.
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James Reimer has been thrust into the role of starting goalie for the Florida Panthers after Roberto Luongo left Thursday's game early and is out indefinitely.

The Florida Panthers lost goalie Roberto Luongo to injury after the first 20 minutes and also took a 2-1 shootout loss to the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.

Florida, which gets a point in the standings, has dropped four of its past five with 19 games left. The Panthers picked up a point on the Boston Bruins who lost 2-1 to the Rangers.

“We battled hard and it was a wild game,” said James Reimer, who came in and made 35 saves in relief and becomes the starting goalie with Luongo out indefinitely.

“We battled hard for a point. It’s unfortunate a game like this had to be decided in a shootout but we gained a valuable point.”

The Panthers came into the game riding a five-game road winning streak after sweeping their most recent trip which started in Nashville, had three stops in California and ended in St. Louis.

Florida also held a three-point lead on the Flyers in the standings as both teams fight to get into playoff position.

On Thursday, both teams came out hard charging with Luongo making 13 saves before leaving after the first period with what the team said is a “lower body” injury believed to be related to the hip injury which needed surgery following last season.

Luongo alluded to such and injury in an interview with the Miami Herald on Sunday and aggravated it during the first period.

Luongo looked to be in pain as he pulled himself off the ice yet finished the final 5:28 of the first — including killing off Philadelphia’s 5-on-3 chance during that period.

Coach and general manager Tom Rowe said Luongo would be out a week although it could be longer than that.

Reto Berra was recalled from Florida’s minor league team in Massachussetts.

Philadelphia jumped all over the Panthers in the second period and was outshooting Florida 10-0 before things quickly changed.

Florida was called for its fourth penalty of the night midway through the second when Aaron Ekblad picked off a sloppy long pass from Claude Giroux.

Ekblad proceeded to turn on the jets, barnstorming his way into the Philly zone. Ekblad blew through Giroux and whipped a shot past Steve Mason to give Florida the 1-0 lead at 11:34 of the second.

“I blacked out on that,” Ekblad said. “I don’t know; I think that was the first time I [penalty killed] all year; Giroux made the pass, I got lucky because a defenseman probably wouldn’t have made the play that he made.”

Despite being outshot by such a wide margin early in the second, Florida ended the period up with four more shots on goal.

“It was a great game,” Rowe said. “Sure, we made some turnovers but so did they. Both teams are fighting for the playoffs. Reimer was unreal coming in when Lou had to go out.”

Philadelphia tied the score midway through the third when Valterri Filppula — acquired from Tampa on Wednesday — knocked down Schenn’s pass into the slot and put the puck past Reimer.

Reimer played terrific and made one big save after another including one on Jakub Voracek at point-blank range off a Florida turnover from behind the net with 1:20 left.

In two periods plus overtime, Reimer stopped 35 of 36 shots on goal.

With 18.2 seconds left, Mason kept things going by stopping Sasha Barkov. He made 39 saves headed into the shootout.

Barkov was Florida’s only scorer in a shootout won 2-1 by the Flyers.

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