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game recap

Roberto Luongo gets milestone victory

Panthers goalie shuts out Devils, moves into fifth place on NHL wins list

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Roberto Luongo made 28 saves for the 448th win of his NHL career, passing Terry Sawchuk for fifth in League history, when the Florida Panthers defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-0 at Prudential Center on Monday.

The shutout was the first of the season for Luongo and 73rd of his NHL career, 11th-most in League history.

"[Luongo] was terrific, and we're really happy for him," Panthers coach Tom Rowe said. "It shows the longevity of what he's done. He's an incredibly professional individual, and we're all really happy for him. It's an incredible milestone."

 

WATCH: All Panthers vs. Devils highlights

 

Luongo, 37, tied Sawchuk for fifth place on the NHL wins list with a 4-3 shootout victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 20. He lost his next three starts and sat out the past two games with an upper-body injury.

"Right now, I want to get some wins; our goal is to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so that's what my focus is on 100 percent," said Luongo, who had not earned a shutout since Jan. 22 against the Chicago Blackhawks. "The other things will take care of itself and we'll reflect on them once all is said and done. But I think as a group we have one goal in mind and that's to play good every night and keep collecting some points and get back into this thing."

Video: Luongo earns Monday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal in the first period, and Jussi Jokinen and Vincent Trocheck each scored an empty-net goal in the final 1:05 for the Panthers (18-16-8).

Cory Schneider made 26 saves for the Devils (16-18-8), who have lost three straight, scoring three goals in that span.

"It wasn't a great game, it wasn't a terrible game, but that's probably not good enough right now," Schneider said. "We need to come up with a little bit more than that. Just find a way to get points. It's tough to end a homestand in our building and not get a point."

Smith scored late in the first after the Panthers were given an uninterrupted three-minute power play. At 12:17, Devils center Pavel Zacha was penalized five minutes for boarding center Denis Malgin and Panthers right wing Shawn Thornton received two minutes for roughing, setting up the Panthers advantage after Thornton's minor expired.

Smith's initial shot from the slot was stopped by Schneider, but he knocked in the rebound. Malgin did not return to the game after playing 2:03, and Rowe had no update on his condition.

 

Goal of the game

Smith's power-play goal 16:55 into the first was the winner. After taking a pass from Jokinen down the slot, Smith collected his own rebound and scored just inside the right post.

Video: FLA@NJD: Smith jams his own rebound in for PPG

 

Save of the game

Luongo denied Devils defenseman Damon Severson on a 2-on-1 with Kyle Palmieri 2:20 into the second and the Panthers holding a 1-0 lead.

Video: FLA@NJD: Luongo denies Severson from the circle

 

Highlight of the game

With the Devils on a power play after defenseman Aaron Ekblad was called for holding Taylor Hall 12:53 into the second, a shot by Zacha hit the left post before Luongo denied Kyle Palmieri and Miles Wood in the slot.

 

Unsung performance of the game

Trocheck, who was the top-line center, led the Panthers in ice time (25:48) on 34 shifts. He had a goal and an assist for his third multipoint performance in seven games. He also had two hits and won 13 of 20 faceoffs.

Video: FLA@NJD: Trocheck pots empty-netter from neutral zone

 

They said it

"We have to play like we did [against the Devils] every night. That's playing simple and just kind of dumb down the game a little bit with all the injuries we have. When you're missing key forwards like we are and players that help your team win, you just have to be reliable in the defense zone and play well in front of the goaltenders." -- Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle

 

"I don't think we had a whole lot of point shots. We had a few scrums in front of the net where they were close to going in. It's a really frustrating night for our team because we felt we were right there but couldn't get that last push to tie it up. When you leave it up to an empty-net play, sometimes it doesn't go your way. Just a tough night overall." -- Devils left wing Taylor Hall

 

Need to know

The Panthers were without centers Aleksander Barkov (undisclosed, five games missed), Jonathan Huberdeau (lower body, 42 games) and Nick Bjugstad (lower body, two games). ... Jaromir Jagr had one shot in 18:54 of ice time. ... Luongo trails Curtis Joseph for fourth place by six wins (454). The three others ahead of Luongo are Ed Belfour (484), Patrick Roy (551) and Martin Brodeur (691). ... Devils defenseman Steven Santini had five hits, two blocked shots and two shots on goal in 13:40 of ice time. 

 

What's next

Panthers: At the New York Islanders on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Devils: At the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, MSG+, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Luongo takes fifth place on all-time wins list

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