Recap: Panthers open 2022-23 season with 3-1 road win over Islanders

32-save effort by Bobrovsky gets Maurice era off to rousing start

The Florida Panthers posted a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders at UBS Arena, making Paul Maurice a winner in his first game behind the bench after taking over from departed interim head coach Andrew Brunette.

After a scoreless first period that saw Sergei Bobrovsky shine by stopping all 16 New York shots, Eetu Luostarinen opened the scoring at the 12:45 mark of the second. Colin White claimed the puck in the high slot and dished off to Radko Gudas, who took a saoft wrister from near the blue line. Luostarinen deflected the puck, angling it just past both defenseman Robin Salo and netminder Iiya Sorokin for the Cats first of the season.

A hooking call on Gudas put the Islanders on the power play early in the third, and the home side tied the tilt at 3:13 when Brock Nelson took a pass from Noah Dobson and then sent the puck back to the waiting defenseman, who beat Bobrovsky with a rising wrist shot. Mat Barzal picked up the secondary assist.

The Panthers would retake the lead just thirty seconds later thanks to a gritty goal from the fourth line. After the Cats loosened the puck along the boards, Ryan Lomberg ripped a shot off the glove of Sorokin. Patric Hornqvist, who centered to Lomberg, whacked the rebound out of the air and off the side of the net, collected it, and then deposited it behind Sorokin via a wraparound on the opposite side.

Bobrovsky shut the door the rest of the way and newcomer Matthew Tkachuk got his first in a Panthers kit by poking the puck past Dobson at the Florida blue line and then firing the puck into the empty net from center ice to seal the win.

Three hard-working goals and a stellar effort from Bobrovsky got the Paul Maurice era off on the good foot. The Cats were outshot (33-29), outhit by a wide margin (37-15), lost the faceoff battle and went 0 for 5 on the power play, yet still found a way to get out of Nassau County with two points. Florida will rest today before they face the Buffalo Sabres, who opened with a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, on Saturday afternoon at KeyBank Center.

Flotsam & Jetsam

  • Six players made their Panthers debut last night. In addition to his clinching goal, Matthew Tkachuk registered four shots and a a hit. Colin White had a helper and one shot. Rudolfs Balcers had three shots on goal and a block. Nick Cousins won 50% of his faceoffs and went +1. Marc Staal played 16 minutes and was credited with two hits. Waiver claim Josh Mahura played 11:36 and was the only player to go +2.
  • Brandon Montour had an effective game, logging a game-high 24:56 TOI and finishing with three shots, one hit and a block. Aaron Ekblad played 24:39 while his new partner Gustav Forsling logged 23:35 of ice time.
  • In addition to scoring his team’s only goal, Noah Dobson registered a game-high six shots, blocked one and had one hit.
  • Sam Reinhart and Anton Lundell matched Tkachuk’s four shots on goal, which led the Gatos.
  • Lane Lambert, who played 283 NHL games, was a loser in his game as the Islanders head coach. The club is celebrating its 50th anniversary since joining the NHL at the beginning of the 1972-73 season with the Atlanta Flames.
  • The Panthers remain undefeated at UBS Arena. Read more about it at Lighthouse Hockey./

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