VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals and an assist, and Roberto Luongo stopped 32 shots in his return to Vancouver as the Florida Panthers beat the Canucks 3-1 on Thursday night.
Aleksander Barkov also scored for Florida, and Luongo earned his 389th NHL victory — tying Dominik Hasek for 11th place on the career list.
It was also Luongo’s first against the Canucks, giving him a victory against all 30 NHL teams. He was named the game’s first star and then handed his stick over the boards to a young fan in a Vancouver jersey.
Daniel Sedin had the only goal for the Canucks, who got 27 saves from Ryan Miller.
Luongo played eight seasons in Vancouver and won at least 30 games six times — and 40 twice — before being traded back to Florida last March after being benched in the Heritage Classic.
The 35-year-old Luongo was honored seven minutes in with a video tribute. Fans gave him a standing ovation and serenaded him with the familiar “Loo” chant.
Luongo took his mask off to salute the crowd, and the chant continued throughout the game whenever he touched the puck.
With the game tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, the Panthers grabbed their first lead at 7:10 of the second. Barkov scored his fourth of the season on a nice deflection off a point shot from rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
Luongo made a good pad save on Vancouver forward Shawn Matthias — one of the players acquired in the Luongo deal — off the rush a few minutes later, but a mistake by the Canucks late in the period protected the Panthers’ lead.
Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov caught Vancouver on a bad change and sprung a stretch pass to Huberdeau, who moved in alone on Miller and beat him high over the glove for his sixth at 16:43.
After the Panthers had a number of chances to stretch their advantage early in the third against Miller, who was signed in the offseason to be Vancouver’s No. 1 goalie, Luongo stopped Matthias moments later with a great pad save.
The Canucks got a 5-on-3 power play for 40 seconds with 7:50 to go after Florida’s David Bolland was assessed a double minor for high sticking with the Panthers already down a man, but Vancouver was unable to get anything going.
A scrum at the side of the Florida net with under four minutes to go resulted in Luongo throwing blocker punches at Derek Dorsett. The Panthers ended up with a power play.
As the clock wound down, some of the “Loos” for Luongo turned to boos directed at the home team.
Vancouver took the lead at 3:39 of the first period when Daniel Sedin beat Luongo for his ninth of the season off a feed from his brother Henrik.
Luongo snagged a hard shot from Alexander Edler a few minutes later to keep the deficit at one before his teammates tied it at 9:33.
NOTES: Canucks forward Chris Higgins missed the game due to with an illness, so Linden Vey dressed for the second straight night after he subbed for Radim Vrbata (flu) on Tuesday. … The Canucks will play the finale of their five-game homestand on Saturday against Calgary. … Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis skated with his teammates on Thursday morning and said he expects to practice on Friday. He has been out with a torn groin since Nov. 20.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.