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At the Rink: Panthers at Canucks

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER -- Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers are trying not to get too worked up about their franchise-record 12-game winning streak, but the goaltender admitted it's getting harder as they move up the NHL record books.

The Panthers can become the ninth team in NHL history to win at least 13 straight with a victory against Luongo's former team, the Vancouver Canucks, on Monday (10 p.m. ET; FS-F, SNP).

"There's a lot of buzz around our team, which is nice," Luongo said. "We just want to keep it going, keep it quiet, not too loud and go about our business."

Luongo watched from the bench while Al Montoya made 24 saves and Florida extended its streak to 12 games with a 2-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, moving into a tie for the 10th longest streak in League history. Luongo was one of three Panthers to skate on Monday and will be back in goal against the Canucks, trying to keep an even keel, which is something he credited for being in the midst of arguably his best season yet at age 36.

Luongo, who helped the Canucks reach Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, went through his share of highs and lows during eight seasons in Vancouver, including an emotional trade to the Panthers at the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline. But he doesn't think it matters how much attention the Panthers streak receives, or whether it would be harder to maintain in the spotlight of a Canadian market. What matters is how they handle it internally.

"I have learned to manage that stuff over the years better than in the past, for me it really isn't about the market, it's about the mental makeup of the person," said Luongo, who is fourth in the NHL with 19 wins and fifth with a .931 save percentage, 11 points above his career average. "It's easier to get to a high on a streak like this, but the key is to remain on an even keel and realize what makes us successful is the work and playing well as a team."

The Panthers' win streak is the longest since the Boston Bruins went 12-0-0 from March 2-22, 2014. If they defeat the Canucks, the Panthers will have a chance to tie the 1929-30 Bruins and 2009-10 Washington Capitals at 14 consecutive wins when they play the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

The 1992-93 Penguins hold the NHL record of 17 wins in a row.

"I don't like to look too far ahead," Luongo said. "I like to stay in the moment mostly because when you look at bigger pictures you tend to get overwhelmed."

Emerson Etem will make his Canucks debut Monday, three days after the 23-year-old was acquired from the New York Rangers and at the expense of 32-year-old veteran Chris Higgins, who has been told to stay home while the Canucks try to trade him.

"The biggest challenge with youth is they don't have the experience, they don't have the consistency," coach Willie Desjardins said. "With youth, you see every once in a while these glimpses where they are so good, but it doesn't happen all the time and the problem is you don't know when it's going to happen."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jonathan HuberdeauAleksander BarkovJaromir Jagr

Jussi JokinenVincent TrocheckReilly Smith

Brandon PirriNick BjugstadLogan Shaw

Quinton HowdenDerek MacKenzieCorban Knight

Dmitry KulikovErik Gudbranson

Brian CampbellAlex Petrovic

Willie MitchellSteven Kampfer

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Injured: Aaron Ekblad (upper body), Dave Bolland (lower body)

Scratched: Shawn Thornton


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Radim Vrbata

Emerson Etem - Linden Vey - Jake Virtanen

Brandon Prust - Jared McCann - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Alex Biega - Yannick Weber

Ben Hutton - Matt Bartkowski

Jacob Markstrom

Ryan Miller

Injured: Jannik Hansen (upper body), Dan Hamhuis (facial surgery), Luca Sbisa (hand), Brandon Sutter (sports hernia surgery)

Scratched: Andrey Pedan, Chris Higgins, Adam Cracknell

Status report: Kampfer, Knight and Luongo were the three players to skate Monday after the Panthers arrived late from Edmonton. … Sbisa and Sutter took part in an optional morning skate Monday and will join the Canucks on their upcoming six-game road trip but might not play until later in the trip. … Miller, who returned to back up Markstrom Saturday after missing six games with a groin injury sustained in a Dec. 20 shootout against the Panthers, hopes to be ready to start early in the road trip. Markstrom is 4-2-2 with a .927 save percentage while making seven straight starts since Miller was hurt.

Who's hot: Jagr has four goals and one assist during a four-game point streak and leads the Panthers with 15 goals and 31 points this season. … Baertschi has five goals and seven points in his past seven games, and goals in back-to-back games since returning from missing two games with a sore neck. His linemate, Horvat, has four goals and an assist in three games after going 27 games without a goal.

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