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Harri Sateri leads Panthers over Canucks, to fourth straight win

Matthew DeFranks, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Hockey

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Harri Sateri was once a nomad of the hockey world. He played for an AHL team that no longer exists. He played in a country where he didn't speak the language. He languished for a decade in the rungs beneath the NHL waiting for an opportunity to crack into the world's best league.

Sateri looks at home in the Panthers' crease, most recently in Florida's 3-1 win over the Canucks on Tuesday night. But now the question is how long will he be able to keep it?

Sateri made 26 saves in the win over Vancouver, the Panthers' fourth straight win. The streak has slid Florida up the standings since the All-Star break and is one win away from tying a season-long winning streak. The Panthers entered the day eight points out of a playoff spot.

Aleksander Barkov scored twice and Jamie McGinn added another for Florida to back Sateri's effort. Markus Granlund's shorthanded goal in the second period was Vancouver's only tally.

Sateri was shoved into action for the Panthers when both Roberto Luongo and James Reimer landed on injured reserve. Luongo has been out since Dec. 4 with a lower-body injury, missing the last 24 games. Reimer pulled his groin on Jan. 23, missing his fifth straight game on Tuesday night.

But both are nearing returns in Sunrise. Reimer participated fully in Monday's practice and is eyeing a Friday return when the Panthers host Los Angeles. Panthers coach Bob Boughner hoped Luongo would practice Wednesday morning.

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Sateri was signed in the offseason for two reasons: to split time in the AHL with goalie prospect Sam Montembeualt and to insure the club against injuries to Luongo and Reimer. With Luongo and Reimer returning, Sateri's place on the team appears to be in peril.

But Sateri has won four straight games for the team. He was named the NHL's second star of the week for his nearly perfect effort last week in which he had a .946 save percentage and 1.67 goals against average. He has responded to rushes with huge saves to keep opponents off the board, including Tuesday against the Canucks.

About four minutes into the game, Sateri stoned Vancouver's Sven Baertschi. In the second period, he made a post-to-post stop on Loui Eriksson while the Canucks were shorthanded. In the third period, he made a save on a tip during a Vancouver power play.

Sateri wasn't pounded with shots on goal, but he made the saves when he did face them.

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