The Florida Panthers might want to put Roberto Luongo in bubble wrap to keep him safe from any harm.
The 39-year-old goalie returned from his second stint on injured reserve this season, but his latest comeback was a beauty as the Panthers routed the Boston Bruins 5-0 on Tuesday night at the BB&T Center.
Florida had other heroes to be sure — Mike Hoffman with two goals, Aleksander Barkov with three assists and Jonathan Huberdeau with his sixth consecutive multi-point game.
He can tie Pavel Bure’s franchise record with a multi-point game his next time out.
Mike Matheson and Evgenii Dadonov had Florida’s other goals. Keith Yandle added two assists.
This was Luongo’s first game since Nov. 23, but he looked sharp, making 32 saves. He had missed the previous five games with his second lower-body injury of the season.
He played just nine of Florida’s first 25 games due to those injuries, and the Panthers had lost his past four starts before everything changed against the Bruins.
This was Luongo’s 77th shutout, moving him past Ed Belfour and Tony Esposito for ninth place on the NHL list.
Hoffman, acquired from the Ottawa Senators in a trade this past offseason, has a team-high 14 goals He also has 26 points in his past 24 games.
After a scoreless first period, the Panthers were dominant with four goals against Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak (39 saves).
Florida opened the scoring with 15:39 left in the second. Colton Sceviour, who had skated north of the net, tossed the puck toward the goal. Halak made a stop, but he couldn’t find the puck, and Hoffman raced in to tap it in.
Matheson put the Panthers up 2-0 with 6:47 left in the second period. He skated down the right side along the boards, blowing past Jake DeBrusk and Torey Krug before unleashing a wrist shot that snuck in under Halak’s right arm.
Florida poured it on with Matheson’s goal and the second one by Hoffman, which came on a power play that scored with just 3.7 seconds left in the period.
The Panthers’ power play — which clicked twice on Tuesday — has scored in 16 of their past 17 games.
THIS AND THAT
The Panthers sat center Denis Malgin (upper-body injury) and defenseman Alex Petrovic (healthy scratch).
Malgin has one goal and four assists in 15 games this season but hasn’t played since Nov. 23. Petrovic has one assist in 20 games and was replaced by Bogdan Kiselevich.