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LUONGO KNOCKED OUT OF LOSS: Radek Dvorak's Hit Sends Luongo to Bench for Precaution as Panthers Lose 3-0

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What may have been Radek Dvorak's final NHL game in South Florida didn't last long. Roberto Luongo's night ended early as well.

Dvorak, a rookie on Florida's Stanley Cup Finals team in 1996, was ejected from Carolina's 3-0 win over the Panthers after colliding with Luongo in the first period. Luongo remained in the game after the hit, one that looked more accidental than anything else, but didn't return for the second period.

Florida goalie coach Robb Tallas said during the second intermission that Luongo took a hard hit and was pulled purely for precautionary measures. Tallas added that he expected Luongo -- who suffered from a sore neck -- to play Saturday against visiting Montreal.

"They held him out for precautionary reasons,'' coach Peter Horachek said. "I'll have a report on Friday.''

Thursday's collision was one for the Panthers record books.

Dvorak had been Florida's all-time leader in games played after two stints with the Panthers before being passed by Stephen Weiss in 2012. Luongo is Florida's all-time leader in games played by a goalie yet the two have never been teammates with the Panthers -- although they have trained together in Coral Springs during the offseason.

Dvorak, who made the Hurricanes after a training camp tryout, rolled Luongo as he and Erik Gudbranson jockeyed for position driving toward the net. With Luongo on the ground, Gudbranson pounced and both teams ended up conversing in the crease.

Gudbranson was given two minutes for roughing but Dvorak was slapped with a five minute major and the automatic ejection that comes with a game misconduct.

"It was not intentional, I tried to stop,'' Dvorak said afterward. "That's not my game. I would never try and hurt the goalie. I got pushed a little and tried to hold up. I kind of felt bad. I never want to hurt anyone out there. It just happened.''

Carolina, which swept the season series for the first time, took a 1-0 lead when Jiri Tlusty froze Brian Campbell and Luongo and scored midway through the first.

Tlusty welcomed Dan Ellis to the Florida ice for the first time since joining the Panthers as the backup gave up his first goal 2:30 into the second as his defense broke down again in front.

Jeff Skinner made it 3-0 by poking a shot past Quinton Howden as Ellis was down on the ice 5:46 into the period.

Florida had numerous chances to get on the board in the second but Anton Khudobin (35 saves) made a number of great stops to keep the Panthers scoreless.

"It's never a fun situation knowing something is up with your [goaltending] partner,'' said Ellis, who stopped 18 of 20 shots. "That's the job and you have to be ready when they call you.''


Defenseman Tom Gilbert had sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia on Thursday morning and will miss the rest of the season.

Gilbert, a pending free agent, played through the pain of what he reportedly thought was a hip injury.

"He's been dealing with it for a while,'' Horachek said.

"He's been playing through it, taking therapy and medicine trying to keep it under wraps. It got to a point where something needed to be done. He had the appointment and now the surgery.''



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Dvorak looked like he did try to hold up but he also looked like he tried to follow up to Luongos noggin. He missed but he extended his left arm toward Luongos head and it doesn't appear to be any type of attempt to grab the crossbar to hold up. Despite him not being a dirty player it looks like he wanted to hold up by using Luongos head as a stop. You can see it from both camera angles, better from the side angle. Gudbranson cut off any escape angle but he didn't level Dvorak into Luongo. Since he didn't connect to the head it probably didn't warrant 5 minutes and a game. But the refs probably saw that arm extension. This may be his last season in the NHL and not having a chance finish his NHL career in the playoffs ... frustration can be a powerful thing. Always liked Radek.

It is clear that this team needs to redo its defensemen.

I love Jovo however, he is done as a player.

I also believe that Campbell is on the downside of his career and it is time to cut back his minutes.

I really hope one of the young d-men would step up and show something.

Gudbranson could be something to build around if he stays healthy.

This team appears to be strong at Center, this years draft will not do much for this team.

The biggest need is a change of attitude, even San Antonio is near the bottom of the standings, this losing culture needs to end.

Guys should be fighting for jobs, instead they appear to be going through the motions, this team comes out flat and only after the other team starts sitting back do we start to be aggressive.

I am more disappointed in the lack of veteran leadership and effort then the inconsistent play of the young players.

The panthers and oilers have the same problems, they both have a losing culture.

When does the blueprint change? I don't know if Tallon is the answer or not (his hands were tied until this year) and I think Viola needs to check from people respected in the league to see if Tallon is the right person for the job or there is someone available that can better lead this team into a Stanley Cup contender like a Detroit, Boston

The head coach and assistants got to go. We need a experienced nhl head coach. We need an offensive and defensive assistant coaches. Scott Luce and his entire scouting team has to go. How the heck has he kept his job for 10 years based on who we've developed over that timeframe.. Dale tallon also needs to go as we'll like asst GM Santos. Wipe the slate clean.

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