The Florida Panthers actually had a first period lead in this one, but it sure didn't last long, as the New York Islanders reeled off four answered goals en route to a 4-2 win in the final meeting of the season between two of the Eastern Conference's bottom-dwellers.
The Islanders kept their dim playoff chances alive for at least one more day. New York needs to win their remaining seven games and get a ton of help to pull off an April miracle.
After Jonathan Racine took an interference penalty on his first NHL shift, Quinton Howden put the Panthers on top just 1:50 into the game with an unassisted short-handed tally. The goal was Howden's fourth in eleven games since his recall from San Antonio on March 12th.
The good times lasted a whole 45 seconds until Travis Hamonic scored from Josh Bailey with the Isles on the same power play to even the game at one.
Bailey jammed a rebound past Scott Clemmensen midway through the second period and Matt Martin beat the beleaguered keeper six minutes and change later to put New York up 3-1 after forty.
Rookie winger Mike Halmo delivered the final dagger in the third period with his first NHL goal at the 4:21 mark.
Brandon Pirri lit the lamp for his eleventh of the season with six ticks left on the clock to complete the scoring. Brian Campbell and Dmitry Kulikov combined to set up the power-play goal.
Florida completed the road portion of their 2013-14 schedule with an awful 13-25-3 record. They will return home to close out the season with five games at the BB&T Center, beginning with Friday night's tilt against the Calgary Flames.
Odds & Sods
- Scott Clemmensen had a busy night in his return to the Florida net. The Islanders launched forty shots at Clemmer, who saw his record slip to 6-7-1. With Roberto Luongo expected back on the season-ending homestand, that could be the last time we see Clemmensen in a Panthers uniform.
- Quinton Howden is doing a pretty impressive job considering what's surrounding him. After scoring 10 goals in 57 games with the Rampage, he now has 4 in 11 games with the Panthers on just 15 shots. Howden has also posted a solid +1 rating. Shoot more often Q!
- The Islanders upped their record to 6-3-1 in their last ten games. The team is playing a lot better with their life on the line, but this looks like a classic case of too little, too late. Another loss or one more point from both Detroit and Columbus and the fat lady lets loose.
- 38-year-old veteran netminder Evgeni Nabokov needed to stop just 20 shots to even his record at 14-14-7.
- Erik Gudbranson hooked up for a first period tussle with Isles bruiser Matt Carkner. Guds got the instigator, which wiped out an upcoming power play, and a ten-minue misconduct for rushing to the defense of Scottie Upshall, who took a high-stick from Carkner.
- Colin McDonald set up both of the Islanders goals in the second period to raise his point to 18 on the season.
- Despite the loss, the Panthers took the season series from the Islanders, two games to one. Traded goaler Tim Thomas posted both of the wins.
- For more on last night's action, hone in on the bright beacon that is Lighthouse Hockey.