The Panthers returned home to find the missing goals from last week's 1-1-1 road trip. Florida scored three times in the opening period to cruise to a 4-2 win over the surging New York Islanders. The loss snapped the Isles four-game winning streak.
After not scoring in Saturday night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Devils, the Killer B's line opened the scoring for the Cats. Aleksander Barkov potted the goal, beating Kevin Poulin with a wrister, on an assist from Brad Boyes just 32 seconds into the game.
Drew Shore notched his first of the season from Krys Barch and Ed Jovanovski at the 15:32 mark to give Florida a two-goal lead. Shore was the last Cat to touch the puck before it went into the net off of Islanders' defender Brian Strait.
Nick Bjugstad scored for the second game in a row to make it 3-0 Panthers with 36 seconds left in the period. Scottie Upshall drew the only helper on Bjugstad's tenth.
Upshall tallied the only goal of the second period with a short-handed marker at 15:59. Brian Campbell and the JovoCop combined to set up the goal.
Colin McDonald finally got one past Tim Thomas, who finished with 31 stops, to get the Isles on the board with 31 seconds remaining in the middle frame.
Thomas Vanek would pull New York to within two with a goal early in the third period, but Thomas and the rest of the Cats would shut the door the rest of the way.
The Panthers were due for some goals and the Islanders were ready for a loss, so it was nice to see both things happen last night. With a number of other Eastern Conference teams heating up right now, Florida needs to build on this win with another strong performance Thursday against the visiting San Jose Sharks. After that game, the Cats are on the road for the rest of the month, with the exception of a January 24th date against the Colorado Avalanche.
Odds & Ends
- The win was Florida's tenth of the season at home and moved them past the .500 mark (10-9-4) at the BB&T Center.
- The two-assist performance gave veteran Ed Jovanovski his first points of the 2013-14 season.
- The Islanders suffered their first road loss of 2014. They had won seven straight away from home since dropping a 6-3 decision to the Phoenix Coyotes on December 12th.
- Tim Thomas turned aside 14 of 15 shots in the third period to preserve the rare cushion his teammates afforded him.
- The Panthers notched three goals in a period for the first time since the season opener against the Dallas Stars.
- Barkov's goal was the fastest the Panthers have scored in a game this season.
- The power play failed again, going a putrid 0 for 5. The Panthers are 0 for 22 in their last seven games.