Roberto Luongo returned to the Florida Panthers crease in dramatic fashion in the third period Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs after leaving after the first and spending the second in street clothes.
With 4:03 remaining in the opening frame, Luongo was shaken up after taking a Leo Komarov shot off his shoulder. He remained in the game and stopped all 16 shots he faced in the period, but did not return to the Panthers bench in the second. He was replaced by backup Al Montoya, who then suffered a lower-body injury early in the third on a Nazem Kadri goal.
After Montoya’s injury there was a lengthy delay as the team tried to figure out what to do. Montoya ended up staying in the game, but his mobility was severely impacted and he was visibly shaken up.
During the delay, Panthers goaltending coach Robbie Tallas — a former NHL backup goalie — was forced to put on some pads as an insurance policy, while Luongo looked like this…
Eventually, Luongo put his pads back on and returned to the net so Montoya could head to the dressing room to be assessed by team medical staff.
Goalie issues are the last thing the Panthers need right now. They sit just two points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.