Jonathan Huberdeau rapped Anthony Duclair’s pass past Ilya Sorokin 6:58 into the first to open the scoring, with the second assist going to Aleksander Barkov.
Ryan Lomberg got his first of the season at 14:40 when he roofed the rebound after Sorokin made a good save on Patric Hornqvist’s redirect of Brandon Montour’s backhand pass.
After Sorokin denied Montour on an opportunity that was mostly created off some sloppy puck movement before Carter Verhaeghe made a nice feed to the defenseman, Verhaeghe ended up putting the rebound into the net after Sam Bennett prevented the Islanders keeper from freezing the puck.
Florida’s fourth line continued to bang and Hornqvist would tack on one more at the 18:13 mark, after a Mat Barzal turnover, by whistling a shot off Sorokin’s head and inside the short-side post, to put the Cats up by four before the first intermission.
The Panthers would lose Barkov 1:47 into the middle frame when the captain took a knee-on-knee hit from Scott Mayfield, who received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Barkov’s status is unknown, but in a sign of good news he was reportedly walking around the locker room after the game without aid, so maybe things aren’t as bad as initially feared.
Aaron Ekblad took a return pass from MacKenzie Weegar and moved into the right circle before driving a slapper by Semyon Varlamov at 13:41 to put the Cats up by five. Varlamov came on after Sorokin did not return for the second period.
The Islanders got on the board with five minutes left in the period when a patient Kyle Palmieri worked past Kevin Connauton before beating Sergei Bobrovsky up high. Assists on the goal went to Keifer Bellows and Noah Dobson.
A steal by Owen Tippett steal sent Frank Vatrano in on Varlamov with Sebastian Aho on his tail and he bagged the game’s final goal with 3:24 left in regulation.
An impressive effort by the Panthers, who got goals from six different skaters to get back in the win column. The Islanders, at the end of a 13-game run as the visiting team, were the perfect tonic for what ailed the Cats. New York looked more than ready to return home after the Panthers poured in four in the first, with the last three of the quartet coming in a torrid 3:33 span. Shutouts remain elusive for Bobrovsky, but no matter. Wins are what matter most, and he upped his record to 7-0-2 and lowered his GAA to 1.78 thanks to a solid 27-save effort. The four-game losing streak has now morphed into a three-game point streak. Up next for the Cats is a Thursday meeting on home ice against the New Jersey Devils. Last week, the Devils handed the Panthers its worst loss of the season thus far last week, so here’s a chance for some quick revenge.
Flotsam & Jetsam
- The Panthers hit a milestone last night by posting the 900th win in franchise history. They are now a perfect 8-0-0 at FLA Live Arena. It must be the new moniker.
- More on the club history front. Sergei Bobrovsky joined John Vanbiesbrouck as the second goalie to begin a season without a regulation loss through his first nine games. The Beezer started the 1996-97 campaign with a 6-0-3 record.
- Florida has gone from having a real hard time with the Islanders to beating them twice so far this season by a combined score of 11-2. The final meeting between the two will come on April 19 when the Cats will make their first-ever visit to the new UBS Arena in Elmont, NY.
- The Islanders have allowed at least four goals in four straight games for the first time in the Barry Trotz era. Trotz was hired prior to the 2018-19 season.
- Frank Vatrano, Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour led the way for the Cats with four shots on goal, while Andres Lee and Noah Dobson did the same for New York. Radko Gudas dished out a game-high seven hits.
- Ilya Sorokin stopped 13 of 17 shots in the first period, Semyon Varlamov made 17 saves on 19 shots the rest of the way.
- Get the other side of the streak-buster at Lighthouse Hockey.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)