SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers will have their hands full on Thursday as their three-game homestand continues.
Florida, which has lost three straight games, will welcome the surging Winnipeg Jets to the BB&T Center.
Winnipeg (17-7-4) has been one of the top teams in the Western Conference and has rode a 9-3-1 stretch to climb within one point of first in the Central Division.
It’s been a tough week for the Panthers (10-13-4) as Wednesday head coach Bob Boughner revealed that starting goalie Roberto Luongo would miss an extended period of time with a lower-body injury.
Luongo was hurt during Monday’s shootout loss to the New York Islanders after making what looked like a routine right pad save.
He quickly crumpled to the ice and had to be helped off by trainers, unable to put any weight on his right leg.
When asked about a timetable for Luongo’s return, Boughner’s response wasn’t exactly optimistic.
“Whether that’s 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks… [we] have to see how his rehab goes,” Boughner said Wednesday. “Definitely out for a while.”
Cue James Reimer, who was brought to Florida to be more of a co-starter with Luongo than a backup.
His play has been inconsistent, but if the Panthers are going to try and climb back into playoff contention they’ll need Reimer to get back on track.
The 29-year-old is just 4-6-3 this season to go with a troublesome 3.67 goals against average and .892 save percentage.
- Winnipeg has lost three straight road games and is just 7-5-3 this season away from home.
- Former Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov will return to Sunrise for the first time as a member of the Jets.
- During three games in December, the Jets have scored on 7 of 16 power play opportunities will killing off 14-of-14 penalties.
- Florida center Aleksander Barkov has five points (4 goals) over his last five games.
- The Panthers recalled goaltender Harri Sateri from the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds to back up Reimer following the injury to Luongo.