Recap: Panthers score four in the third to sink slumping Islanders

Bruce Bennett

Big games from Matthias and Upshall power Cats to win.

For the third time in the last three games, the Florida Panthers erased a two-goal deficit, only this time they actually kept going to beat the New York Islanders 5-3 in a penalty-filled tilt yesterday at Nassau Coliseum.

Shawn Matthias and Scottie Upshall each finished the game with two goals and an assist for the suddenly offensive Panthers. Upshall's second goal, which came on the power play and completed the scoring, looked like it went in off the foot of Jimmy Hayes, so there might be an official scoring change made at some point.

After surrendering two first period goals to Thomas Vanek, Tim Thomas had a strong outing, finishing with 35 saves on the afternoon.

Trailing 2-0, Matthias got the Panthers on the board by punching in the rebound of a hard Upshall shot at 18:15 of the second period.

Ryan Strome restored New York's two-goal lead just 59 seconds later by outworking Dylan Olsen for the puck in front and knocking it past Thomas.

The Panthers, who are getting way too used to being down by two lately, came out strong in the final frame, quickly tying the game on goals from Marcel Goc and Matthias. Jonathan Huberdeau and Tom Gilbert got the helpers on the Goc tally, while Huberdeau and Hayes teamed up to collect assists on Matthias' ninth of the season.

Midway through the period Mattias took a blast that Islanders keeper Anders Nilsson could not control. Upshall was on the doorstep to knock in the rebound to give the Cats their first lead. Brian Campbell picked up the secondary assist on the eventual game-winner.

Upshall put the game away just under five minutes later, from Olsen and Dmitry Kulikov, with a power-play goal from the slot that appeared to strike the screening Hayes in the foot on its way past Nilsson.

The Panthers will finish off their three-game road trip Tuesday night in Boston against the Bruins.

AHL: San Antonio dropped a wild 6-5 decision to the Oklahoma City Barons yesterday in the OKC. The Rampage overcame a 3-0 deficit to lead 5-3 in the third period, but the Barons rallied for three goals in the final 9:58 to steal the game. Defenseman Brandon Davidson beat Michael Houser with 36 seconds remaining for the game-winner. Davidson tied the game at five earlier with his first of the season. Garrett Wilson, Colby Robak, Ryan Martindale, Vincent Trocheck and Quinton Howden were the San Antonio goal-scorers.

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