The Florida Panthers struggled early and were unable to recover in their 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Friday.
After scoring the first goal of the game, Florida surrendered three consecutive scores before the first period came to an end. The barrage of goals for St. Louis came in a span of roughly seven minutes and ended Roberto Luongo's day early. Florida lifted its starting goalie to begin the second period in favor of Al Montoya.
Luongo has not had many bad performances this year, and has been a key reason for Florida's success most of the season. The veteran simply did not have it on this night however, and head coach Gerard Gallant elected to make a change while 40 minutes remained.
Montoya would do a good job in place of Luongo, and that effort gave the Panthers a fighting chance. The team would ultimately fall short after cutting the deficit to only one with nine minutes to play. Montoya ended up stopping 13 of the 15 attempts fired at him.
Florida's first goal of the day came courtesy of Derek MacKenzie at the 5:05 mark of the first period. The goal was the sixth of the season for MacKenzie and was assisted on by Shawn Thornton.
Following four unanswered goals from the Blues, Aaron Ekblad made the score 4-2 when he put home his 11th goal of the season. The score which had assists on it from Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr, came during the second period.
Huberdeau's 11th goal of the season would close the gap to only one goal in the third period. Jagr and Brian Campbell picked up assists on the goal, which ended up being Florida's last score of the game.
The Panthers will try and rebound from this loss on Saturday when they host the Nashville Predators at 7 p.m.