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Boston snaps 13-game point streak

2/23/2004

BOSTON (AP) -- Roberto Luongo showed once again Monday night why
many consider him the game's best young goaltender.

Luongo made 38 saves for his fifth shutout of the season,
leading the Florida Panthers past the Bruins 2-0 Monday night for
Boston's first regulation loss in 13 games.

Darcy Hordichuk and Andreas Lilja scored for Florida, 4-2-2-0
under new coach John Torchetti. The Panthers extended their
unbeaten streak to four games.

"That was big for us as a team," said coach John Torchetti.
"We'd like to get to [Boston's] level, but we're just taking it
step-by-step."

Luongo was dominant from the opening faceoff until the final
whistle en route to his 19th win of the season, one shy of a career
high he set last season. In the second period, he stopped a slap
shot by Martin Lapointe with his right skate, then dived across an
empty net and used his right arm to stop Patrice Bergeron from just
outside the crease.

Luongo, who ranks second in the NHL in save percentage despite a
losing record, allowed just three goals in four games against the
Bruins this season.

"He's like our sixth defenseman, and you know you can take
extra chances," said Hordichuk of Luongo. "That's why he's been
an All-Star. If guys don't think he's the real deal, he's proven
them wrong."

Hordichuk opened the scoring early in the second period. Mathieu Biron took a wrist shot from just inside the blue line, and
Hordichuk, screening Andrew Raycroft, deflected the puck into the
net.

"I saw it coming at me, and then it went off a leg or a stick
or something. I had no idea where it went," said Raycroft. "I was
still looking for it when it was in the net for 10 seconds."

Lilja pushed Florida's lead to 2-0 midway in the third period.
Niklas Hagman slipped the puck through a pair of Boston defenders
and onto Lilja's stick, and Lilja beat Raycroft with a backhander.

Boston fell in regulation for the first time since a 2-1 home
loss Jan. 24, also to the Panthers.

"We knew they always present challenges, and that's something
we certainly addressed," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I don't think we played with as much energy as we have as of late, but I think we played
hard."

Raycroft made 30 saves but lost for the second straight time
head-to-head against Luongo, who downplayed his success against the
Bruins this season.

"Sometimes you find yourself playing more comfortably against a
team. This year, Boston's one of them," Luongo said.

Game notes
Florida finished 2-0-2 against the Bruins this season.
... Boston has been shut out seven times this season, with six at
home, a franchise record. ... Heavy metal band Godsmack, which boasts Boston natives, performed acoustic sets after the second period and
after the game.