SUNRISE, Fla. — Roberto Luongo will be back in goal for the Panthers for Friday night’s Game 2 and it wasn’t much of a decision for coach Gerard Gallant.
“The only reason I didn’t say it (last night after Game 1) is I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy,” Gallant said. “He’s not a young kid anymore, he’s 37 years old so I just have to make sure. It’s not about his performance ... Do we need more from Lu tonight? No. We need more from our team tonight. Those turnovers killed us.”
Gallant said there would be a couple of changes among his skaters, with rookie defenseman Michael Matheson likely going in for Jakub Kindl and possibly forward Quinton Howden subbing in up front.
Gallant liked the game from his top two lines. The Jonathan Huberdeau-Aleksander Barkov-Jaromir Jagr line and the Reilly Smith-Nick Bjugstad-Jussi Jokinen line each had 13 shots on Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss. Smith had two goals and Jokinen one power-play goal, while the Barkov line was shut out.
”They had puck control, they had zone time, they just didn’t put the puck in the net,” Gallant said of the Barkov line. “(John) Tavares is a great player and his line scored a couple goals, but did they dominate the game compared to Barkov’s line, to Bjugstad’s line? I don’t think so.”
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