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5 Takeaways: Luongo Shuts Out Bruins in Return From Injury

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

12/4/18 Post Game Interviews

12/4/18 Post Game Interviews

Interviews with Bob Boughner, Roberto Luongo, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman

  • 01:20 •

SUNRISE, Fla. - Roberto Luongo had no shortage of goal support, but he only needed one.

In his return to the net after missing five games with a lower-body injury, Luongo turned away all 33 shots he faced to secure his first shutout of the season and lead the Florida Panthers to a dominant 5-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night at BB&T Center.

"The boys did a great job," said Luongo, who improved to 5-3-0 on the season "There wasn't a lot of breakdowns, odd-man rushes, stuff like that. It really helps my game when we play like that defensively. It also translates into offense for our club. I'll take more of those, hopefully." 

Video: BOS@FLA: Luongo lifts Panthers in return with shutout

With the 77th shutout of his Hall of Fame-worthy career, Luongo, 39, surpassed both Tony Esposito and Ed Belfour to claim sole possession of ninth place on the NHL's all-time list.

"It was great for Lu to be back in there," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. "You could see he was in full control of the game. His rebound control was amazing… That makes it a lot easier on our team. You know, I'm happy for Lu. I think he moved into ninth all-time in shutouts in the history of the game. He did it in a nice a fashion."

The Panthers (11-10-5) now sit at 3-1-2 on their current eight-game homestand. "I think we're headed in the right direction," Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson said. "We're playing against good teams and getting points and getting wins against them. Tonight definitely felt good. We've had a lot of really tight games go both ways, so it was good to have a bit of a no-doubter."

Here are five takeaways from Tuesday's win in Sunrise…


The Panthers did everything but score in the first period on Tuesday night.

After the first 20 minutes of play, Florida was doubling up the Bruins in both shots (13-6) and shot attempts (22-11). Although both teams finished the first with one power play, the Panthers alone showed any bite, firing off four solid scoring chances.

"I was really happy with the first period," Boughner said. "I thought that every line seemed to be going, every line seemed to have some offensive zone time. We didn't give up much. We were transitioning well, we were playing fast… I felt good where our game was."

When Boston got their chance with the man advantage, it was the Panthers that actually got the best look, as Troy Brouwer ripped a shorthanded shot from the slot that was just barely denied by goaltender Jaroslav Halak. The Bruins finished their power play without a single shot attempt.

"After the first period, we felt comfortable with the way we played," Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau said.


After a scoreless first period, the second was bookended by a pair of goals from Mike Hoffman.

The first goal came after Halak was unable to locate the puck in the blue paint following a shot from Colton Sceviour. Noticing an opportunity, Hoffman crashed into the crease, knocking in the juicy rebound to break the ice and put the Panthers ahead 1-0 lead at 4:21 of the second frame.

"From the first period, I thought we played pretty good hockey, and it continued right through the game," Hoffman said of the win. 

Video: BOS@FLA: Hoffman pokes in loose puck

Later, Hoffman padded the lead after a slashing penalty sent the Panthers to a 4-on-3 power play with just under a minute left in the period. With the seconds ticking down, the 29-year-old set up shop in the right circle before blasting a one-timer to make it 4-0 with 3.7 seconds left.

Video: BOS@FLA: Hoffman nets second goal on power play

"They sat in the box a lot," said Hoffman. "The power play got a couple, which is nice."

A scoring machine since arriving to South Florida by way of Ottawa and San Jose this summer, Hoffman, who the Panthers acquired for a few draft picks, now leads his new team with 14 goals this season, while also ranking first in shots (102) and and third in points (26).

Hoffman's first-period goal stood up as the game-winner, pushing his total this season to a team-leading three.

3. 7 for 11

The only thing hotter than the temperature in South Florida? Huberdeau, of course!

With a goal and two assists on Tuesday night, the 25-year-old winger recorded his sixth straight multi-point game - the second-longest such streak in franchise history (Pavel Bure had seven straight back in 2001). The goal was his seventh of the season, the fifth-most on the team.

"Everything's working right now," Huberdeau said. "It's unbelievable. I broke my stick on the first pass and it went right to Sceviour's stick. It's unbelievable, but it's part of it. I want to try and keep it simple out there, and it's been working. I just want to keep doing that, game after game."

Video: BOS@FLA: Huberdeau slips puck by Halak to extend lead

Even before his goal, Huberdeau had already hit a milestone. By picking up the secondary assist on Hoffman's first goal, the former first-round pick notched his 296th point as a Panther, breaking a tie with Nathan Horton for fourth place on the franchise's all-time scoring list.

"I didn't really know," Huberdeau said when asked about the historic point. "It was cool when I saw that. I've been here since the start of my career, and I want to stay here the whole time if I can. It's nice to be fourth and I want to keep climbing."

Huberdeau leads Florida with 31 points, while his 24 assists are tied for sixth among NHL forwards.


This one should end up on SportsCenter.

After starting with the puck behind Florida's net, Matheson turned on the jets, blowing past two defenders on his way into the offensive zone, where he fired a wrist shot under Halak's arm to extend Florida's lead to 2-0 at 13:13 of the second period - a coast-to-coast masterpiece.

"It just kind of developed," Matheson said of the goal. "As the play went on, I just wheeled the net, looked for an outlet, but didn't have it, so I started skating and then it opened up a little bit."

Video: BOS@FLA: Matheson scores on end-to-end rush

When asked about what he saw on the play, Luongo joked that he orchestrated it.

"I've got to take credit for that," Luongo said, flashing a grin. "I told him to start skating."

In the first season of an eight-year deal he inked last October, Matheson has been piling up the points. With two goals and 10 assists in 24 games, he's currently on pace to blow right past the career-high 27 he posted in 2017-18. His 10 assists are second among Florida's blueliners.

Matheson, however, said points are the farthest thing from his mind right now.

"I haven't really been focusing on it too much," he said. "The things that I've been thinking of before games and trying to work on have been more on the defensive side. That's where my focus has been. The offensive side is something that just kind of comes. You don't really want to worry about it too much."

On the defensive side of the puck, Matheson leads all Panthers defensemen with 18 takeaways.


The Panthers continue to be as close to automatic as you can get on the power play.

With Hoffman's second-period goal, the Panthers have now recorded at least one goal with the man advantage in 16 of their last 17 games. Late in the third period, Evgenii Dadonov went on to add another on the power play, scoring his 13th goal with 5:34 left in regulation. 

Video: BOS@FLA: Dadonov nets PPG off Barkov's smooth feed

"Our power play, again, has been probably the best part of our game in the last month," Boughner said. "Give those guys credit, they go out there and they execute. We're always changing up and looking at what's going to be available that night. These guys have been amazing at adjusting. It's nice to have that on your side, for sure."

After a 2-for-6 performance against the Bruins on Tuesday night, the Panthers have now gone 22-for-63 (34.9 percent) since Nov. 1 - the second-best power play in the league in that span.


There's nothing like a new twist on a classic. Take a moment to savor tonight's win with a special rendition of the National Anthem from Colonel Gary Palmer of the Broward Sheriff's Office. 

Video: BOS@FLA: Col. Gary Palmer plays anthem on saxophone

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