Goalie nods: Luongo’s first game back with Panthers, Neuvirth makes Sabres debut


All the latest from the crease…

Lui’s back

Roberto Luongo will play as a member of the Florida Panthers for the first time in nearly eight years on Friday night, when the Cats take on the Sabres in Sunrise.

Luongo, acquired from Vancouver on Tuesday, said he’s excited to rejoin the team he played with from 2002-06, earning his first-ever nomination as a Vezina finalist in ’04.

“It’s going to be fun,” Luongo said, per NHL.com. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played as a Panther here. I’m excited to play in front of the crowd and hopefully there’ll be a lot of them and we get a win.”

For the Sabres, it’s a debut of a different kind — Michal Neuvirth will suit up for Buffalo for the first time since being acquired at Wednesday’s trade deadline. The Czech netminder was the odd man out in Washington this year, making just 13 appearances, but should get some legit playing time in Buffalo down the stretch as a number of young players are auditioning for jobs.


Rangers at Hurricanes: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Anton Khudobin

Devils at Red Wings: Cory Schneider vs. Jonas Gustavsson

Islanders at Flames: Joni Ortio for Calgary, no word on New York starter.

Penguins at Ducks: Jonas Hiller likely for Anaheim, no word on Pittsburgh starter.