The Florida Panthers lost Al Montoya early and the game to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday by a final of 3-1.
Montoya was hit in the head by an elbow from Marco Scandella of the Wild. Montoya's head moved in a violent motion before the goalie collapsed to the ice. Montoya would be removed immediately in favor of Roberto Luongo and did not return to the game. The Panthers are calling this an upper body injury and a timetable for Montoya's recovery is at this point unknown.
Before being injured, Montoya had stopped three of four attempts fired at him. All season long, Florida's backup goaltender has done a fantastic job and has given Luongo sufficient rest. If Montoya should miss significant time, the Panthers could struggle to find a suitable replacement for those games.
The loss was the second in a row for Florida as the team continues to try and hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. Florida only has a four-point advantage over Tampa Bay heading into the Lightning's game on Sunday evening.
Luongo did a solid job despite expecting to have the day off. After handling an extended game just one day earlier, Luongo stopped every attempt sent his way until midway into the third period. Florida's veteran goalie ended up with 21 saves on the day on 22 chances.
Down by one in the second period, Florida got on the board and tied the game thanks to a goal from Aaron Ekblad. Jussi Jokinen and Aleksander Barkov assisted on the power play goal which was Ekblad's 12th of the season.
After playing back-to-back games, the Panthers will only have one day off before their next one. On Tuesday, Florida will open its March schedule against the Winnipeg Jets.