Florida Panthers

Goals and tweets pile up for Panthers’ Roberto Luongo at NHL All-Star Game

Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers and Team Toews reacts to a first period goal by Team Foligno during the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on January 25, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio.
Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers and Team Toews reacts to a first period goal by Team Foligno during the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena on January 25, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. Getty Images

After giving up four goals in the opening period Sunday, Roberto Luongo spent the rest of the game on the bench.

He wasn’t sulking, mind you.

Just tweeting.

Luongo’s first period was actually one of the defensive highlights of Sunday’s 60th NHL All-Star Game, a high-scoring affair that ended up being a 17-12 victory for Team Toews over Team Foligno.

The 29 goals scored were the most in an All-Star Game, and with the game out of hand coming into the third period Luongo decided to do some live work on his popular Twitter account.

Players are forbidden from using social media during games, but since this was the exhibition of all exhibitions, an exception was made.

“Everyone was pretty much for it,” Luongo said.

Luongo’s most popular tweet was his first, a complaint aimed toward the Civil War-style cannon usually shot off after Blue Jackets goals.

“I didn’t like the cannon,” Luongo said. “You get used to it, but the first few times you get freaked out.”

On Sunday, the cannon went off every time the home team — the one picked by Columbus’ Nick Foligno — scored.

Luongo played on Jonathan Toews’ squad, and the cannon went off four times while he was in goal.

“You did this to yourself,” replied the official Blue Jackets’ account, which led Luongo to ask if they could put him on the Kiss Cam.

Luongo wasn’t alone in his disdain for the Columbus pyrotechnics.

“I hate the cannon,” Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux said. “It gets me every time.”

Said Toews: “It’s loud enough that it gets on your nerves pretty quickly, and especially when they score 12 or so goals like that … it gets you a little.”

Luongo, making his fourth All-Star appearance, played just one period as scheduled and left with the game tied at 4.

He held things down the best he could.

Radim Vrbata gave Team Foligno the first lead by beating Luongo 3:09 into the first on a breakaway.

Toews’ team battled back, and Luongo ended up making a few highlight-reel saves in his 20 minutes of work — his biggest coming when he robbed Alex Ovechkin midway through the period.

Luongo gave up two quick goals at the end of the period, but Jonathan Tavares’ first of four goals came with 57 seconds left in the first to tie things at the break.

Tavares lost out on being game MVP, as Columbus’ Ryan Johansen took that honor with two goals and four points.

“You have to enjoy this,” Luongo said.

“It’s not every day you get to play in an All-Star Game, and it’s not often you get to [tweet during a game]. So that’s fun.”

Luongo served as the honorary backup for the second and third periods, and had a great seat for the seven goals surrendered by Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury in the second period.

Things got so bad for Fleury that at one timeout he skated to the visitors’ bench to talk to Luongo.

“He actually came to me on the first TV timeout,” Luongo said.

“I don’t know what that meant, whether he was looking for some comforting words or something from me. He wasn’t on my team, so I wasn’t going in for him. What are you going to do? It’s an all-star game, obviously. Things happen. It’s tough to come in cold like that. He’ll be fine.”

Said Fleury: “After the second period, I heard on television that seven goals in a period was a record. It was so long, probably the longest 20 minutes of my career.

“We are at this game to have fun, but at one time it was frustrating. Normaly, I’ll be quick out of the game way before giving up seven goals.”

Florida rookie Aaron Ekblad had a solid All-Star debut, notching four assists — all secondary — in the game to tie for third on his team in scoring.

Afterward, he joked that he needed to have a little amnesia after Sunday’s defenseless game.

The Panthers are back playing games that count starting Tuesday.

“That was like summertime hockey,” Ekblad said. “I’ll forget all that before the next game.”

Ekblad, who was a late substitution for the game after being selected to participate in Saturday’s skills competition, said he enjoyed the experience and “was welcomed with open arms.”

If Ekblad continues his current trajectory, Sunday won’t be his final time playing in an All-Star Game.

“Hopefully, I’ll get another chance at this sometime later in my career,” the 18-year-old said. “This was a learning experience.”

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