Roberto Luongo appears to have injured the same knee that forced him to miss a month of action earlier this season.
Florida Panthers head coach Bob Boughner told media in Florida on Saturday that Luongo is day-to-day after tweaking his knee in a 4-1 loss on Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Luongo moved across the crease to make a save on Lucas Wallmark before falling back and grabbing his right leg, unable to stop Jordan Martinook from scoring on the ensuing rebound.
Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported Saturday that the injury is “believed not to be as serious as the one sustained on Oct. 6.”
Boughner said in his pre-game scrum that Luongo was already on the treadmill getting a workout in, supporting Shannon’s report.
Luongo played all of 32:21 in Florida’s opener before being sidelined. He returned to the crease on Nov. 2 against the Winnipeg Jets in the second game of the NHL’s Global Series in Finland and has started eight games since.
“Obviously, the team is pretty down when you see Lu go down again,” Panthers head coach Bob Boughner said after Friday’s game.
Luongo is 4-3-0 with a .902 save percentage in nine appearances this season.
The Panthers will roll with James Reimer for Saturday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Michael Hutchinson was called up on an emergency basis from Springfield of the American Hockey League to play backup.
Luongo has been plagued with injuries over the past three seasons. He was limited to 40 games in 2016-17 and 35 in 2017-18 and the more time he misses, the more uncertain things become in the Panthers crease.
Reimer has struggled with a 3-5-1 record and a .896 save percentage in 12 games while Hutchinson hasn’t faired any better a 1-1-2 and a .839 save percentage in four appearances.
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck