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Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo 'improving' but likely out at least another week

Matthew DeFranks, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Hockey

Florida Panthers coach Bob Boughner offered a more concrete timeline on the return of goaltender Roberto Luongo on Monday morning, saying the veteran netminder would likely miss at least the next week.

"It's still going to be a week or so before we know more, but he's definitely improving," Boughner said prior to the Panthers' home game against Tampa Bay.

Luongo has been out since Oct. 20, when he left Florida's loss to Pittsburgh with an apparent right hand injury. Penguins forward Connor Sheary wedged Luongo's hand into the goalpost as he was passing by the net, forcing Luongo out of the game immediately. He was placed on injured reserve the next day and has not played since.

Luongo participated in morning skate Monday and has been working prior to Panthers practice with goaltending coach Robb Tallas since last week.

"We knew this was going to be at least a week, if not two or three," Boughner said. "This isn't a day-to-day short term thing right now. I think that we're seeing signs of improvement which is huge. We're excited to get him back eventually."

Luongo, 38, missed the final five weeks of last season with hip issues, pushing backup James Reimer into the No. 1 role for the Panthers. Reimer has again assumed the top spot in Luongo's absence, filling in admirably.

In four games since Luongo's injury, Reimer has a 2.69 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. He's made at least 30 saves in all four games, including a 41-save effort in Washington.

Antti Niemi has been Reimer's backup but has yet to see action since being claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh.

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