McCann gets winner, Luongo ties record, Panthers 3, Devils 2
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Roberto Luongo joined an exclusive club, becoming only the second goalie to win 200 games with two different teams
He made 23 saves Monday night as Florida beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 for Luongo’s 200th victory as a Panther.
He also won 252 with Vancouver. The other netminder to accomplish the feat was Hall of Famer Patrick Roy with 289 wins for Montreal and 262 for Colorado.
Luongo downplayed the feat.
“That’s stuff that I’ll look at when it’s all said and done,” Luongo said. “Right now, when you’re in the moment, you don’t want to think too much about those things. Other than you guys reminding me on a daily basis, I don’t really think about it.”
His goal is helping the struggling Panthers gain traction in the standings to make a postseason push.
“Obviously if you’re playing well, you’re going to give your team a chance to win, and those wins and those milestones will come,” Luongo said. “It’s always nice when you reach a certain milestone but the focus is on primarily on winning games and trying to get into the playoffs.”
The Panthers took one small step in that direction as Jared McCann scored the go-ahead goal in a see-saw third period.
Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck also scored as the struggling Panthers cooled off the streaking Devils who were on a 5-1-2 run coming in. The win was the second in the last five games for Florida.
Rookies Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt scored for New Jersey and Corey Schneider made 35 saves.
Barkov snapped a scoreless deadlock on the Panthers 30th shot with 2:40 remaining in the second period.
Florida had dominated play and was finally rewarded with Barkov’s shorthanded tally.
He broke into the Devils zone on a 2-on-1 break with Colton Sceviour and opted to keep the puck, beating Schneider just inside the left post.
It was the second straight period in which the Panthers were clearly the better team. The outshot the Devils 31-10 after 40 minutes and clung to a 1-0 advantage.
Things opened up in the third.
Hischier pulled New Jersey even at 2:20. Trocheck got his team-leading 10th at 4:07 on a shot that nicked the post to put Florida back in front at 2-1.
Bratt threw the puck at the crease from a bad angle and wound up with the Devils second goal as it bounced in off the skate of Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad at 8:19.
McCann gave the Panthers their third lead of the game, putting in his own rebound at 12:45.
“I haven’t seen the replay but it might have glanced off me and gone in,” Schneider said. “It’s just a bad bounce. We got one for us in the third and they got one. Sometimes you just have to find a way to make saves off bad bounces.”
After not seeing much action through two periods, Luongo made 13 saves in the third to secure the win, and his place in the record book.
“He’s obviously world class goaltender and a future Hall of Famer and everything he does back there kind of makes us a better team,” Trocheck said. “He’s our backbone and whenever he plays like he did tonight in net, it gets us to give it that extra push to have his back.”
The Panthers also dominated the opening period yet came away empty handed. Florida outshot New Jersey 16-3 during the scoreless frame as Schneider was under constant pressure.
Luongo saw little action in his end with New Jersey defenseman John Moore providing two of his club’s few chances. Moore hit the post with a drive from the left post and almost broke the deadlock in the closing seconds only to have Luongo snare his wrister with a sharp glove save.
The three shots tied New Jersey’s season low for a period.
NOTES: The Panthers recalled C Denis Malgin from Springfield of the AHL on Monday. ... Panthers RW Evgenii Dadonov could miss several weeks with an upper-body injury suffered in the third period Saturday in Florida’s 4-1 loss to Chicago. ... Devils LW Marcus Johansson missed a 13th straight game with a concussion. He has resumed practicing and could return during New Jersey’s upcoming three-game road trip.
Panthers: At New York Rangers on Tuesday.
Devils: At Colorado on Friday