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Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 6:26 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers' Luongo to return against Maple Leafs

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Goaltender Roberto Luongo will be back in the lineup for the Florida Panthers when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, but he'll have a different backup and will be facing a goalie making his first NHL start.

Luongo, sporting a new mask, was the only Panthers goalie at the morning skate after Dan Ellis was sidelined with an upper-body injury sustained in practice Wednesday. Ellis was an emergency starter Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers when Luongo was scratched after leading the Panthers onto the ice for warm-ups.

With Ellis out, the Panthers recalled veteran Scott Clemmensen on an emergency basis, but he didn't skate Thursday morning because his equipment failed to arrive with him on his flight from San Antonio.

Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 7:37 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers goalie Luongo scratched from start

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo was scratched from his start against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night because of an upper-body injury.

Luongo led the Panthers onto the ice for warm-ups, but was ruled out shortly before game time. He is in uniform and on the bench.

Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 1:30 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Poised to clinch, Flyers get Downie back

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Philadelphia Flyers will have forward Steve Downie back in the lineup Tuesday when they try to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After going 1-7-0 to start the season, the Flyers will clinch a playoff spot with a victory against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center.

"It's really special for us," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said after the morning skate. "The start of the year was really tough on us, and for us to kind of battle back and be able to be in the position we are right now, we've got to be proud of that."

Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:36 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers add Luongo to lineup; Boyes sidelined

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Goaltender Roberto Luongo will be celebrating his 35th birthday Friday by returning to action for the Florida Panthers.

Luongo was the first Panthers goalie off the ice at their morning skate in preparation for their game against the Calgary Flames at BB&T Center. Luongo has missed the past three games after being injured in a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on March 27.

Luongo said after practice Thursday he sustained a mild concussion as a result of his collision with Carolina forward Radek Dvorak. Luongo has a record of 4-5-1 with a 2.54 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage since coming back to the Panthers in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks on March 4.

Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 1:39 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers' Gilbert to miss rest of season

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Veteran defenseman Tom Gilbert's first season with the Florida Panthers is over.

Gilbert, who signed in late September after going to training camp on a professional tryout, underwent sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Gilbert had played in all of Florida's first 73 games, totaling three goals, 25 assists and a minus-5 rating. His average ice time of 21:20 is second on the Panthers behind defense partner Brian Campbell, who is averaging 27:17.

"He's been dealing with it for a while and playing through it, having to take therapy and medicine," Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek said after morning skate in preparation for a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. "It was to a point where something needed to done."

Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 1:45 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils' Schneider, Panthers' Luongo face off again

SUNRISE, Fla. -- For Cory Schneider, facing Roberto Luongo is nothing new. But there's a different twist to their third goaltending battle of the season.

Nine months after they were teammates with the Vancouver Canucks, Friday will mark their first game as opponents in a game that doesn't involve the Canucks. Schneider will be starting for the New Jersey Devils, Luongo for the Florida Panthers.

"It's the third time I've played him this year. I think it's the most I've played any other goalie this year," Schneider said after the Devils' optional skate. "It's becoming old news. Maybe we'll become good rivals. Who knows?"

Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 12:40 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers get good news on injured Gudbranson

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson's lower-body injury isn't as severe as the team feared, but Gudbranson will be out of the lineup for at least two weeks.

Gudbranson will miss the game against the Phoenix Coyotes at BB&T Center on Tuesday and will be joined on the sidelines by forward Jesse Winchester, who is out with a lower-body injury.

Gudbranson, the third pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, was injured in the third period of a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday when he collided with Bruins forward Brad Marchand near the Panthers blue line. The two appeared to bump knees and Gudbranson's leg appeared to bend awkwardly as he fell to the ice.

"The scans came back better than we anticipated," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said after the morning skate Tuesday. "I don't really have the exact timeline. We'll have to wait to see where it is, but in the short term we got good news with the scan [because we were] fearful that there was more than we thought."

Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 1:02 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Luongo ready for return engagement with Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Roberto Luongo talked at length about his return to the Florida Panthers the past two days, but Friday was time to get ready for his first game with his old/new team.

Luongo didn't address the media after the morning skate Friday, but his coach and teammates had plenty to say about Luongo's first game back in a Panthers uniform.

"It's a big game for our fans to see Roberto back in net and for us here to play a big game in front of him," forward Scottie Upshall said. "It's a big match."

The first game of Luongo's second stint with the Panthers will come Friday against the Buffalo Sabres at BB&T Center. It comes a little less than eight years after Luongo was traded from the Panthers to the Vancouver Canucks after five seasons in Florida.

Posted On Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 2:26 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Capitals' Green, Grabovski in; Johansson uncertain

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Washington Capitals will have defenseman Mike Green and center Mikhail Grabovski back in the lineup Thursday night when they try to pick up where they left off before the Olympic break, but the status of center Marcus Johansson was still up in the air after the morning skate.

Johansson skated with his teammates Thursday morning after arriving at the team hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. After competing in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Johansson had to fly to Sweden to resolve a visa issue and spent 20 hours traveling Wednesday to Miami after making a stop in London.

"I don't feel great right now," Johansson said. "Obviously when you travel like that for 20 hours or whatever it was, it takes a little toll on your body, but you get a good nap in and a good meal, I think it'll help me a lot."

Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 1:38 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - Road to Sochi blog

Canada coach Babcock thrilled to have St. Louis

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who will play for the United States team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, summed up pretty well the news that Martin St. Louis would replace Steven Stamkos on the Canadian squad.

"They replace a great player with another great player," Howard said after the Red Wings' morning skate in preparation for their game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. "It's as simple as that."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was more directly affected by the change because he'll be the head coach for the Canadian team.

"I feel bad for [Stamkos]," Babcock said. "He's one of the best players in the NHL. I love watching him play. High-powered kid. He's really learning how to play the game 200 feet. He would have been a real asset.

"In saying that, St. Louis has had a great year. He's had four great years since the last Olympics. It was really hard decisions when we were picking the team. He goes in as a group of one of 14 and then he's got to carve out whatever he can carve for himself, just like the rest of the guys. We're thrilled to have him. He's a great person. He competes hard. He's ultra-competitive and we want him to bring that."

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Quote of the Day

[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.

— Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin
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