The 3-0-1 Panthers would play in the fourth game of a six game homestand, hosting the 0-2-1 New York Islanders on October 15th. They had won the first three, against the Calgary Flames (4-3), the Montreal Canadiens (6-1), and the Ottawa Senators (6-2). Here's the recap from The Sunday Gazette:
Rob Niedermayer scored two goals, including the game-winner, to give Florida a victory over New York.
The victory was a record fourth straight at home for Florida also matched a franchise high and kept the Islanders winless (0-3-1) after four games. Florida has outscored its opponents 21-9 during the streak.
In a fast-paced, five-goal second period, in which the Panthers lost a two-goal advantage, Niedermayer's second goal of the game and season, took a big effort. With Brett Lindros draped all over him, Niedermayer emerged from the corner and ripped a high blast over Tommy Soderstrom's shoulder to give the Panthers to a 4-3 lead with 1:11 remaining in the second period.
Vanbiesbrouck stopped Kirk Muller twice and Patrick Flatley once in the third period. Dave Lowry's first goal of the season, a backhander in front off a feed from Stu Barnes, clinched the victory with 3:36 left.
Niedermayer scored the first goal of the game when his wrist shot from the left faceoff circle eluded Soderstrom's stick side. Niedermayer, the Panthers' first selection in the 1993 entry draft, scored just four goals last season.
Stu Barnes and Dave Lowry each added a goal and an assist, while Jody Hull closed out the Florida scoresheet. The Panthers would host the Chicago Blackhawks and the Hartford Whalers before hitting the road again on October 24th.
The Panthers, at 1-2-1 and coming off a 2-2 tie at home with the New York Islanders, would welcome the 2-2-1 Tampa Bay Lightning to the Miami Arena. The Sun-Journal has the recap:
Dave Nemirovsky had a goal and assisted on the winning score, and John Vanbiesbrouck stopped 24 shots to lift the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.
It was the first of five meetings between the two Atlantic Division and state rivals.
With the game tied 1-1 in the second, Nemirovsky was scrapping for the puck on the sideboards when he backhanded a pass to Dave Gagner in the slot. Gagner, who was being checked by Igor Ulanov, whirled and flipped the puck over Daren Puppa for the go-ahead goal with 32.9 seconds left in the second period. It was Gagner's team-leading fourth goal.
Puppa had stopped 79 of his last 82 shots.
The 1-0-0-1 Panthers, after starting out the season with an overtime loss followed by an overtime win, would play in the second game of a four game roadtrip against the 1-0-1-0 Minnesota Wild. Here's the Reading Eagle recap:
At St. Paul, Minn., Bill Muckalt scored two goals to break a 75-game drought, and Manny Fernandez made 30 saves as the Minnesota Wild beat the Florida Panthers.
Muckalt, who signed with the Wild in July, got his first goal in more than a year, at 6:20 of the first period to put the Wild ahead, 1-0. He also scored an empty-net goal with 2.8 seconds left.
Afterward, the Panthers would visit the Chicago Blackhawks and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Panthers were 1-0-2-0 and coming off a 2-2 road tie with the Carolina Hurricanes. They hosted the 2-0-0-0 Phoenix Coyotes on October 15th. Here's the AP recap as it appeared in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
Shane Doan and Radoslav Suchy scored and Sean Burke made 29 saves as the Phoenix Coyotes won again, 2-1 Wednesday night over the Florida Panthers.
Phoenix, out of the playoffs last season, improved to 3-0 for the first time since the 1987-88 season. The Coyotes opened the season with a 2-1 overtime victory over St. Louis and a 2-0 win against Anaheim.
Florida (1-1-2) missed a chance to stay unbeaten after four games for the first time since 1999.
Luongo made 34 saves for Florida, which was outshot 36-30.
Burke has allowed only two goals in three starts.
Van Ryn scored when his slap shot from the point hit a stick above the circle and went over Burke's left shoulder.
The Panthers would embark on a three game roadtrip afterward, visiting the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers, and the New Jersey Devils. The Coyotes, after starting out the season well, didn't win again until November 8th, and finished well out of the playoff picture, with only 68 points.
The 3-2-0 Panthers took to the ice to face the 4-1-0 Buffalo Sabres. Roberto Luongo, who opened the season with conscutive shutouts, would mind the net for the Cats. The NHL.COM recap:
Jokinen scored a power-play goal with 1:07 remaining in the third period, lifting the Panthers to a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Mike Van Ryn had three assists and Roberto Luongo stopped 32 shots for the Panthers.
Jokinen's goal ruined what otherwise was a superb game by Miller, who had 39 saves.
Jokinen spoke with the press afterward:
``I took it to the net, and sometimes it goes in,'' Jokinen said. ``We won, and that's the main point. Everybody is happy. It's a better feeling than losing.''
Martin Gelinas and Nathan Horton also lit the lamp for the Panthers, who would visit the Rangers in Madison Square Garden on October 17th.
Last season, the 1-1-0 Panthers would play host to the 1-2-1 Tampa Bay Lightning in Sunrise. Technically, the Bolts would earn a winning record for the season, but wouldn't come close to sniffing a playoff berth. As we all know, the Panthers were long overdue for some sort of postseason appearance. They would come one win closer to their ultimate destination with a victory on October 15th. The NHL.COM recap:
Ed Jovanovski scored a power-play goal in his first home game in a Florida uniform in more than a decade and the revamped Panthers went on to beat Tampa Bay 3-2 in a shootout.
Marcel Goc scored the only goal of the shootout on Florida's second attempt and Theodore secured the victory by stopping Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier. When Theodore denied Lecavalier's backhand deke on Tampa Bay's third try, he quickly and emphatically raised his right arm in celebration.
Kris Versteeg would also score for the Panthers. Marc-Andre Bergeron would score both of Tampa Bay's goals. Jovanovski spoke later about his score:
"It feels good," Jovanovski said of his return to Florida. "The guys worked hard. It was nice to get that one early and feed off the crowd. It was a good one for us."
Lightning @ Panthers 10/15/11 (via NHLVideo)
The Cats and the Bolts would play again two nights later at the St. Pete Times Forum on Florida's left coast.
The Panthers have posted a 4-2-0 all-time record on this date. Make sure to check back every day for more Panthers history.