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Recap: Panthers get back to .500 with 4-2 win over Islanders

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Cats honor Bill Torrey with third win in a row

NHL: New York Islanders at Florida Panthers Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday night, the Florida Panthers defeated the New York Islanders by a 4-2 score at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL.

The Panthers have now won three games in a row after starting the season with a deplorable 2-5-3 mark. Later this afternoon, they have a chance to make it four when the Ottawa Senators come to town.

First Period

Denis Malgin (1) finally scored for the first time this season on a perfect feed from Jared McCann to take an early lead with six minutes gone in the first period. Nick Bjugstad was also credited with a helper on the play.

The good feelings wouldn’t last long though. Mathew Barzal (2) evened the score just over a minute later after linemate Anders Lee picked off an ill-advised pass by Mike Matheson in the neutral zone. Lee hit Barzal in stride, and there wasn’t really much that Roberto Luongo could do to stop it.

Three penalties were called through the rest of the period. The Islanders power play went 0-for-2 and the Cats late chance also went unrewarded. The clubs broke for the locker room tied at one goal apiece.

Second Period

There was a quick trade-off of penalties in the beginning of the second frame, including four-on-four action for over a minute. Although, neither team could pull ahead. Just past the eight minute mark, Brock Nelson (8) used some nifty stick handling to beat Luongo stick-side at medium range after the Cats repeatedly failed to clear the zone.

Later in the period, the Panthers and Islanders traded off another pair of fruitless power plays. With under a minute left in the frame, Mike Hoffman (7) extended his points-streak to eleven games with a quick backhand shot from below the goal line that deflected in off the skate of defenseman Ryan Pulock. Assists were had by Evgenii Dadonov and Matheson on the play. The period ended with the two clubs deadlocked at two.

Third Period

Dual roughing calls against Valtteri Filppula and Vincent Trocheck put the clubs at four-on-four with four minutes gone in the final period. Adam Pelech then was called for interfering with Bjugstad less than a minute later. Florida’s power play, which was much maligned early in the season when they started 0-for-14, came through in the clutch. Aleksander Barkov (3) lit the lamp past Robin Lehner’s stick side with a bullet from the left circle on a feed from quarterback Keith Yandle. Barkov won an offensive draw to start the decisive play.

Late in the game and down by a goal, the Islanders pulled Lehner with just under two minutes remaining. The Panthers took until literally the last second to net an empty-netter, when Troy Brouwer (2) put it between the pipes with 0.3 seconds remaining. Jonathan Huberdeau earned the lone assist. Prior to Brouwer’s clincher, Luogno made a huge pad stop on the Lee to keep the Cats on top.

A Few Things

  • Trocheck (64%), Barkov (56%), and Bjugstad (54%) were all better than half effective in the faceoff circle. The rest of the team combined to win two-of-13 at the dot.
  • New York won the “hits” battle walking away. Johnny Boychuk and Scott Mayfield combined for eight hits, while the entire Panthers’ squad combined for seven. Alex Petrovic and Trocheck led the Cats with two apiece.
  • The Panthers blocked 11 shots, to nine for the Islanders. Aaron Ekblad, Trocheck, and Yandle had two each.
  • Luongo has now appeared in four games for the Panthers, and holds a 3-0-0 record. He has a 1.42 GAA and a .952 save percentage.

Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)

The Panthers have a quick turnaround and another contest late this afternoon at 5:00 P.M. against the Senators before hitting the road again.