Luongo out at least a week with hip injury, so it’s Reim-time in Florida

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The injury that forced Roberto Luongo to exit last night’s 2-1 shootout loss to Philly will keep him sidelined for at least the next week, Panthers head coach Tom Rowe confirmed on Friday.

In a related move, Florida recalled goalie Reto Berra from AHL Springfield. Berra will now serve as James Reimer‘s backup for the foreseeable future.

Per the Herald, Luongo said he aggravated an old hip/groin/core injury, one that bothered him throughout last season and saw him get corrective surgery last summer.

On one hand, the issue has to be worrisome for Florida. Luongo turns 38 in April and his numbers have been a tad off this season — his save percentage has dipped to .915, while his GAA has risen to 2.68. Given he’s the club’s No. 1 netminder, the looming specter of a recurring injury is troubling.

On the other hand, the Panthers have Reimer.

Given how well he’s played this year, they’re probably in as good as shape as anybody when it comes to replacing a starter. He’s gone 12-8-5 this year with a .922 save percentage and 2.43 GAA, and has been absolutely rock solid over the last two months. He allowed just 12 goals over seven appearances in February, finishing the month with a .929 save percentage, and was stellar again coming on in relief of Luongo last night, stopping 35 of 36 shots faced.

Florida will need Reimer to continue playing well. It heads into Friday’s action sitting one point back of the Isles for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers are back in action on Saturday, when they host Dallas at BB&T.

Reimer will likely be in goal for that one, and could get additional action next week when Florida plays the Rangers (on Tuesday), the Wild (on Friday) and the Bolts (on Saturday).

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