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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – A tough start to the season just got more difficult for the Florida Panthers.
Head coach Bob Boughner told the media on Wednesday that goaltender Roberto Luongo would be out for multiple weeks after suffering a lower-body injury during Monday’s shootout loss to the New York Islanders.
“Obviously lower-body [injury] and it’s going to be an extended period of time,” Boughner said. “Whether that’s 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks… [we] have to see how his rehab goes. Definitely out for a while.”
Luongo was injured after making what appeared to be a routine right pad save.
After flexing out his right leg, Luongo immediately crumpled to the ice where he remained for around five minutes.
Trainers helped Luongo off the ice as he was unable to put any weight on his right leg.
Former Panthers goalie and current NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes said Tuesday that he had spoken to Luongo via text message and gave some insight into the injury.
“He just said ‘listen, it appears that I’m going to be out for a while. It’s gonna be an extended time, as of now,’” Weekes said of his conversation with Luongo. “He was already playing through something prior to that, an upper-body situation, and now he ends up with what appears to be a groin injury.”
With Luongo out for at least the immediate future, James Reimer steps into the starting role for Florida.
Reimer has struggled this season to the tune of a 4-6-3 record, 3.67 goals against average and .892 save percentage.
Additionally, Florida called up Harri Sateri from the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds on Wednesday. He was on the ice for the Panthers’ Wednesday practice.
Through 12 games with Springfield, Sateri is 5-6-0 with a 2.76 GAA and 9.06 save percentage.
Based on Boughner’s comments, the Panthers may not be content with the Reimer-Sateri combination.
“We talked as a staff and as a management group, definitely have to look at other options out there to give [Reimer] some help,” Boughner said. “We have Sateri who can play some games as well so we’re trying to find a fit.”
This is the second time this season that Luongo will miss extended time.
The veteran netminder missed six games last month after injuring his hand in a collision with Penguins forward Conor Sheary.
At that time, the Panthers claimed journeyman Antti Niemi off waivers to give Reimer some support.
When Luongo returned three weeks later, Niemi was waived and picked up by Montreal.
Florida is currently holding the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. Only Buffalo has fewer points (18) than the Panthers (24).
The Panthers will be back on the ice Thursday night when they host the Winnipeg Jets.