Panthers suffer late collapse in 3-2 loss to Islanders

Isles score three in the third to sink Cats

The Florida Panthers kept the New York Islanders under wraps for the first 52 minutes-plus of action, but the Isles exploded for three goals in a 5:31 span to erase a two-goal and earn a 3-2 victory at Barclays Center. The Panthers have now lost five of its last six road games.

Aleksander Barkov opened the scoring at 15:11 to put an exclamation point on Florida's dominating first period that saw the Cats out-shoot the home side by a 11-5 margin. A beautiful cross-ice pass by Alex Petrovic left Barkov with nothing to do but redirect the puck into a gaping net. Jonathan Huberdeau picked up the secondary assist on Barkov's 22nd goal of the campaign.

The Panthers added to their lead at the 8:03 of the second period courtesy of a power-play goal from Nick Bjugstad. After the towering pivot had his initial shot attempt blocked, Huberdeau and Barkov combined to dig the puck loose and reload the gun. Big Nick made no mistake the second time, blowing a wrist shot by Thomas Greiss for his 11th of the season.

After only mustering 11 shots over the first forty minutes, the Islanders threw 17 on a beleaguered Roberto Luongo during the third, finally breaking through when Kyle Okposo lit the lamp at 12:50. Frans Nielsen and Travis Hamonic drew the assists on the play, which came after a Quinton Howden turnover.

Josh Bailey tied the game 1:21 later, stuffing home the rebound of a hard drive from John Tavares after Luongo made a pad stop on the star center. Casey Cizikas also collected a helper on the goal.

The game-winner came with 1:39 left on the clock when Cal Clutterbuck threw a backhand from unlikely angle past Luongo from in tight after the Panthers had a myriad of chances to take control of the puck.

The uncharacteristic collapse cost the Panthers in the standings, as they blew a golden opportunity to reclaim first place in the Atlantic Division. The Cats remain tied in points with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who now hold second place by virtue of a couple tiebreakers. Florida is still one point behind the Boston Bruins, with only one game in hand left.

Flotsam & Jetsam

  • The two-assist performance gave Jonathan Huberdeau 7 points (2G/5A) in the 4 games he has played since returning to the lineup.
  • Jussi Jokinen finally saw his 10-game point streak come to end. Jokinen had a quiet night, finishing with zero shots on goaltender Tomas Greiss.
  • Speaking of Greiss, the young netminder finished with 23 saves and raised his record to a stellar 19-7-4 on the season.
  • Roberto Luongo ended his night with 25 saves and a fourth loss in his last seven decisions.
  • Jaromir Jagr only registered one shot on goal and continued his season-long trend of not scoring on the road. 16 of Jagr's 23 goals in 2015-16 have come at the BB&T Center.
  • The fine folks at war-on-ice have the fancy stats stuff for you here
  • has a highlight package you can see with your own eyes.
  • Lighthouse Hockey has the other side of the Panthers third period meltdown./