SUNRISE, Fla. -- Roberto Luongo
still enjoys getting back to the BankAtlantic Center, but it's not so much because he's facing his former team.
Rather, it's because he gets to play in front of family and friends in the place he calls home in the offseason.
That includes the family of his wife, who he met while he played for the Panthers. Luongo's father-in-law, in fact, owns a pizza place in South Florida and the goalie took his teammates to eat there Sunday after the Canucks practiced at the BankAtlantic Center.
"My wife's side of the family is here, so there's a lot of people coming to the game," Luongo said. "It's always nice to come back here and play."
Luongo has had great success against the Panthers, who shipped him to Vancouver in a five-player trade in June of 2006. He has a 4-0-1 record with a 1.74 GAA, a .951 save percentage and one shutout. That includes a 3-2 victory during Luongo's rookie season with the New York Islanders
In his last visit to the BankAtlantic Center on Feb. 11, 2010, Luongo posted a 3-0 shutout.
But the goalie says facing his former team isn't as significant as it once was.
"Not as much as at the beginning, obviously," Luongo said. "It's more the excitement of playing in front of family and friends more than anything else that's exciting for me now."