Luongo allowed a combined three goals in his first four starts, but on Thursday, he gave up that total in just over a period in a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins.
Luongo, the NHL’s defensive player of the week, was pulled after Boston took a 3-0 lead at 5:26 of the second period.
The Panthers seemed to come to life after Luongo was pulled, outshooting Boston 13-3 the rest of the second period and cutting the lead to 3-2.
“I told Roberto it wasn’t because of his play, I was trying to change the momentum,” Florida coach Jacques Martin said. “And I think we did that.”
But backup Jamie McLennan allowed Boston to score an insurance goal at 11:34 of the third period as Florida failed in its attempt to start 4-1 for the first time since 1995-96, when it made its only trip to the Stanley Cup finals.
Buffalo won its second straight close game Thursday, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in a shootout. The Sabres rebounded from their first loss of the season with a 3-2 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.
“Anytime you get a road win it’s exciting … but if you beat the Stanley Cup champions in their building it’s a good boost,” Vanek said after the Sabres won the opener of a three-game trip.
Miller had 32 saves to improve to 4-1 on the season.
“I like that kind of challenge (in the shootout),” Miller said. “It’s a fun challenge for goalies.”