The Florida Panthers found themselves down 3-1 midway through the third period, but goals from defensemen Brian Campbell and Aaron Ekblad forced extra time, where the New York Islanders eventually prevailed 4-3 in a shootout.
Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo beat Roberto Luongo in the skills competition to offset Jonathan Huberdeau's first round beauty, sending Florida to their fourth defeat in the last five games (1-2-2).
Coming off Tuesday's strong performance against the San Jose Sharks, the Cats took the lead in the first period when Vincent Trocheck found Jimmy Hayes in front with a nifty backhand pass. The big winger promptly stuffed the puck past Isles' keeper Jaroslav Halak. Hayes has now found the back of the net in three straight games and extended his point streak to four. Jussi Jokinen picked up the secondary helper for his seventh assist of the season.
The Islanders got on the board at 13:09 of the second period when John Tavares took a pass from Okposo and fired past a helpless Luongo. New York winger Josh Bailey forced Shawn Thornton into a turnover to start the play.
Two minutes later, defenseman Thomas Hickey sent Ryan Strome in on a breakaway and Strome make it look easy, beating Brother Louie for his second goal of 2014-15 to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. Dylan Olsen made a diving play to try and block Hickey's long pass, but came up empty.
Now York extended their lead early in the third period when Nikolay Kulemin banged a rebound of Johnny Boychuk's shot past Luongo.
Campbell started the Panther rally with a power-play goal at 9:58 with the assists going to Jokinen and Aleksander Barkov. The veteran defender swooped through the zone and lifted the puck over Halak's shoulder to cut the deficit in half. The goal was Soup's first of the season and the assist was Barkov's first of the campaign as well.
With 2:35 remaining, Ekblad launched a shot from the point off Halak's glove into the cage to tie the game at three. Trocheck and Hayes combined to set up the rookie's second career goal, giving the duo two points each on the evening.
The Panthers dominated overtime, outshooting the Islanders 9-2, but couldn't finish to steal the tilt's second point. Halak denied Jokinen and Brad Boyes to make Okposo's second round shootout tally the game-winner, leaving Florida to ponder what might have been as they prepare for a daunting four-game trek that sees them battle the three California teams and the resurgent Nashville Predators.
Flotsam & Jetsam
- The Panthers have now gone past regulation in 6 of their 14 games, but have only managed to pull out a single victory. The Cats need to find a way to pick up the extra point more often.
- The win was the Islanders fifth in a row and Halak's fifth straight against Florida. The veteran goaltender raised his record against the Panthers to 9-1 with the 35-save performance. He also picked up an assist on Strome's breakaway goal.
- The goal by Hayes ended the Isles' shutout streak at 193 minutes, 48 seconds, the second longest run in team history.
- Aleksander Barkov almost had one in the second period, but somehow Halak managed to pin the rolling puck to the crossbar with the back of his neck. Look for that stop to be a "save of the year" contender all season long.
- Vincent Trocheck extended his point streak to three games. Trocheck now has 4 points (all assists) in 6 games this season. He doesn't want to go back to San Antonio.
- The Panthers PK continued to shine, going 3 for 3 on the night. The Cats did get one on the power play (and almost had another on the Barkov bid), but the 1 for 6 performance was another reason why they didn't come away with the win.
- For more on the game, you can "Wang" Chung this morning at Lighthouse Hockey.