Panthers' goalie coach almost gets into game

Florida Panthers netminders Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya both suffered injuries Tuesday against the Leafs, and the team had to nearly finish up with goalie coach Robb Tallas before Luongo, in street clothes in the third period, returned to the game.

Robb Tallas dresses after injuries to Luongo, Montoya

It was a game that will be talked about for quite some time.

Florida Panthers netminders Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya both suffered injuries, and the team had to nearly finish the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with goalie coach Robb Tallas, who last played in an NHL game in 2001.

Luongo left Tuesday night’s game after being struck on the right side of his head.

The injury happened with 4:03 left in the first period on what appeared to be a harmless-looking play.

Leafs centre Leo Komarov raced wide and fired a wrist shot that hit Luongo on the top of his right shoulder and then the side of his head. 

The Panthers goalie immediately went down to the ice. After a lengthy visit from the team trainer, Luongo remained in the game and finished out the first period.

However, he was replaced in the second by Montoya.

Things then got truly dicey for the Panthers, who are desperately chasing Boston for the final Eastern wild-card playoff spot. Montoya was injured as Leafs forward Nazem Kadri scored 22 seconds into the third period, tying the game 2-2.

Montoya appeared to suffer a lower-body injury as he went down to stop a shot by Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner. 

Confusion then set in. Montoya left for the dressing room and returned following an 11-minute break.

Forwards Scottie Upshall and Derek MacKenzie also headed back to presumably to suit up.

But after much debate, Tallas dressed on an emergency basis.

Incredibly, minutes after Toronto scored to go up 3-2, Luongo, in streets clothes moments earlier, returned to the game.

While Luongo stopped all 19 shots he faced, the Leafs skated away with the 3-2 win.

Luongo had a CT scan performed during the game, said Florida general manager Dale Tallon.

The Panthers gave no specifics on the severity of either injury, though head coach Gerard Gallant said Montoya is "hurt pretty good." Tallon said it was likely that the team will summon a goalie for practice on Wednesday.

With files from The Associated Press


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