Upshall goal lifts Panthers over Devils 5-3
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Roberto Luongo got the best of his former goalie teammate yet again.
Scottie Upshall scored the go-ahead goal, Luongo stopped 28 shots, and the Florida Panthers beat the New Jersey Devils 5-3 on Friday night.
Vincent Trocheck, Brad Boyes, Quinton Howden and Brian Campbell also scored for Florida. Jonathan Huberdeau had two assists, and Boyes also had an assist.
Patrik Elias had a goal and assist, and Bryce Salvador and Jaromir Jagr also scored for the Devils. Cory Schneider – Luongo’s former teammate with the Vancouver Canucks – made 17 saves.
Luongo and Schneider faced each other for the first time with their new teams. Schneider was traded to the Devils last summer, and Luongo was sent to the Panthers in a trade on March 4.
Luongo beat Schneider for the third time this season, twice with the Canucks, but didn’t take any special pleasure in beating his ex-teammate.
”No, I actually feel bad,” Luongo said. ”I gave it my all, and so is he. Happy to get the win, for sure, but it’s too bad for him.”
The Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak and handed the Devils their first loss in three games.
Schneider has struggled lately, allowing 15 goals in his last three starts, including seven in a loss at Detroit on March 7.
”Whatever I’m doing right now is just not working, and I’ve got to find a way to get out of this,” Schneider said.
Behind 3-2, the Panthers scored three times in the third period to win it.
Florida tied it on Boyes’ goal. Boyes stole a pass from Mark Fayne in the slot, and his shot went between Schneider’s pads at 4:24. Upshall’s wrist shot from the right circle at 10:00 gave the Panthers a 4-3 lead.
”I’m really not happy with that last goal. It deflates the team. I never like goals to go under me or through me,” Schneider said.
Luongo is hoping that Schneider can turn around his season.
”It happens to everybody. It’s a long season. He’s been lights out the whole year,” Luongo said. ”You go through stretches where things don’t go as well. He’s a great goalie and he’s strong mentally. He’ll get out of it.”
The Panthers have accepted their role as spoiler, with a lot of young players filling in for injured veterans.
”It was a battle of a desperate team and us, who are trying to play spoiler with a lot of young guys,” Upshall said. ”I?thought both teams played good, but it was nice to come out on top.”
Trocheck’s empty-netter, his first NHL goal in his fifth game, with 32.5 seconds left made it 5-3.
”It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders. Five games felt like an eternity to get that first one,” Trocheck said. ”It feels good, and hopefully they’ll keep coming now.”
The Panthers had gotten within 3-2 on Howden’s goal in the second period.
Scott Gomez’s shot was blocked, but he grabbed the rebound and passed the puck to Howden in the low slot for a shot past Schneider at 14:30. They were the only two shots of the period for the Panthers.
The Devils went ahead 2-1 at 2:02 of the second on Salvador’s goal. It was the first goal for Salvador since March 10, 2010 against the New York Rangers – a span of 173 games.
New Jersey stretched its lead to 3-1 at 13:13 of the second. Elias’ shot from the right circle beat Luongo on the short side.
”We had opportunities to build on the lead that we had, and we didn’t take advantage of it,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. ”We let them hang around, and that’s what happens.”
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead on Campbell’s goal at 9:59 of the first.
The Devils tied at 1-all on a power-play goal by Jagr. Travis Zajac fired a slap shot from above the left circle. Luongo tried to glove it but it bounced out. Damien Brunner got the rebound and swept the puck toward the net. Jagr tipped it past Luongo with 1:15 left for his 22nd goal.
The Panthers outshot the Devils 13-6 in the first period, but were outshot 14-2 in the second, tying their season low for shots in a period. The Panthers had two shots in the first against Detroit on Feb. 6.
NOTES: Jagr has three goals and six points in the past five games. … Panthers L Tomas Fleischmann played in his 500th NHL game. … Panthers LW Sean Bergenheim missed the game with a lower-body injury. … This was the fifth game in eight days for the Panthers.