Canucks earn shutout on Luongo tribute night; beat Panthers
Thatcher Demko saved all 36 shots to earn the shut out, while Florida's Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 13 of 17 before Anthony Stolarz took over the net in the third period and stopped the single shot he faced.
Vancouver (20-9-1) honoured former goaltender Roberto Luongo before the game by inducting him into the team's Ring of Honour.
Florida (17-10-2) and its offence sputtered in the second with only six shots on goal, but roared back in the third by throwing 15 at Demko in search of a breakthrough.
Kuzmenko opened the scoring at 4:03 of the first period after a pass from Conor Garland sprang him free. The Russian forward found the net glove side on Bobrovsky.
The Canucks doubled their lead when Joshua received a centring pass from Teddy Blueger, spun and hit the puck top shelf against Bobrovsky with less than seven minutes left in the first period.
Joshua scored his second of the night after Bobrovsky went to go clear the puck but ended up passing it straight to the waiting Canucks forward who had an easy tap in.
Demko's every save was cheered with a chorus of "Lou" in honour of Luongo.
The Canucks offence died off in the third period, recording a single shot as they worked to hold on to the win.
Luongo dropped the puck for a ceremonial faceoff with Demko and Bobrovsky taking part as the representatives for the Canucks and Panthers, respectively.
NOTES: Canucks forward Pius Suter was activated from injured reserve after being placed on it on Nov. 24 … The Canucks are undefeated when leading after two periods.
UP NEXT: The Canucks travel to Saint Paul, Minn., to take on the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
The Panthers will play the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2023.