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Second time lucky: Luongo returns to Panthers, blanks Sabres

Mar 8, 2014 - 6:31 AM Sunrise, FL ( - Roberto Luongo stopped all 25 shots he faced in his reintroduction to Florida, helping the Panthers record a 2-0 victory over Buffalo on Friday.

Luongo was acquired in a shocking deal from the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday for goaltender Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias. He spent five seasons with the club from 2000-06, earning two of his six All-Star nods and winning a franchise-record 108 games.

"I just wanted to have a good game and I thought the boys played really hard for 60 minutes," said Luongo. "Kudos to all the guys in front of me because they had a really good effort."

He extended his own franchise mark with his 27th whitewash and 66th career shutout in the winning effort.

Jesse Winchester and Dmitry Kulikov netted a power-play goal each for the Panthers, who returned home after losing twice on their three-game road swing.

Acquired at the deadline from the Capitals, Michal Neuvirth made a splash in his debut with 42 saves for the Sabres, who lost for the second time in their last six.

"I haven't played for a while," Neuvirth said. "This was my first time with a new team. For sure I was nervous. I've been practicing hard, but a game is a different story."

Kulikov's blast on a Panthers power play gave the hosts a 2-0 lead with 4:04 played in the third period. That was the last time Neuvirth was measured, making 13 saves the rest of the way.

Neuvirth was sent to the bench for an extra skater in the final 95 seconds the contest, and the Sabres had a 6-on-4 advantage when Panthers captain Ed Jovanovski was sent off for boarding inside of a minute to go.

Despite furious pressure, Luongo held the fort behind his tight-checking defense and the hosts claimed a clean sheet.

Florida failed to convert a 25-second 5-on-3 power play after Matt D'Agostini was sent off for delay of game and Marcus Foligno was given a major for boarding and game misconduct for hitting Brandon Pirri.

The Panthers did manage to take advantage during the one-man edge, as Winchester scored from the slot with five seconds remaining.

Sean Bergenheim was tripped up by Sabres forward Drew Stafford on a shot in front, and was given a penalty shot with 7:42 left in the second and nine seconds remaining on another Florida power play. However, Neuvirth poke- checked the puck out of harm's way before a clean shot could be issued.

Luongo did his part to keep Buffalo off the board, making five saves including a diving point-blank stop on Tyler Myers at the left side with 4 1/2 minutes before the second intermission.

Game Notes

Luongo's last game with Florida occurred on Apr. 18, 2006, where he made 39 saves in a 2-1 home win against the Atlanta Thrashers ... His last shutout with the Panthers was a 44-save, 5-0 decision at Washington on Feb. 7, 2006 ... Prior to the contest, the Sabres recalled forwards Nicolas Deslauriers and Luke Adam from Rochester of the AHL ... Buffalo also did not have the services of forward Cory Conacher, claimed off waivers from Ottawa on Wednesday, due to immigration issues.