Toronto Maple Leafs forward Richard Panik scored a goal against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, but he won’t be able to finish today’s game.
The 23-year-old suffered an upper-body injury, with TSN’s Jonas Siegel noting some concussion worries:
Florida’s Scottie Upshall delivered the hit that hurt Panik. Video of the check will be added to this post if it becomes available. (You can view it via this link.)
It’s that much more of a shame because Panik was getting a boost in the form of better linemates, something he commented upon today.
He provided the first tally in a six-goal second period between the two teams:
The Panthers’ lackluster attendance figures have been an ongoing story this season, which is a shame because those that have paid to watch Florida this season have largely gotten their money’s worth.
Even when the Panthers don’t win, they typically at least find a way to keep it close and that’s led to a lot of their contests being unsettled through 60 minutes. With 32 games in the books, Florida leads the league in overtime games (14) and shootouts (nine).
“I haven’t seen anything like this. It’s like a little miracle down here,” Panthers forward Scottie Upshall said, per the News & Observer.
“This is really something to build off of and we’ve got some good vibes going. But it is a little exhausting doing this every night.”
The Panthers’ last four wins have come in shootouts, including their record-breaking 20-rounder against the Washington Capitals on Dec. 16.
With all those minutes Florida has been logging, the holiday break should be more than welcome.
Florida has a 15-9-8 record to put the squad just two points shy of the Capitals, which hold the second Wild Card spot. Given that the Panthers have played in two less games than Washington, that’s not a bad spot to be in.
The injury that forced Roberto Luongo from last night’s 1-0 win over Carolina doesn’t sound serious, but it is significant enough that Florida recalled Dan Ellis from AHL San Antonio on Thursday.
Luongo exited Wednesday’s contest 10:22 into the second period after stopping all 11 of the shots he faced. It didn’t look as though he injured himself on a specific play and, today, details were few about what the ailment might be. (Earlier speculation suggested a shoulder injury; club is saying upper-body.)
Al Montoya came in to relieve Luongo against the ‘Canes and was stellar, stopping all 22 shots.
As for Ellis, the 34-year-old veteran will head back to the bigs after a fairly solid stint with the Rampage. He’s 8-4-0 on the year with a .918 save percentage and 2.13 GAA, but has yet to play in the NHL this season after losing the backup gig to Montoya during training camp. Ellis will back up Montoya for Friday’s game against Ottawa, head coach Gerard Gallant confirmed.
Luongo has been one of the NHL’s busiest workhorses this year, having played in 17 of Florida’s 20 games. To make room for Ellis on the active roster, Florida put Scottie Upshall (ankle) on IR.