Tavares nets three in Islanders 5-2 win over Panthers

Cats fail to extend winning streak to three (again)

John Tavares notched a hat trick to lead the New York Islanders to 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Friday night.

Tavares scored his first of the night 3:48 into the first period, 1:26 after Jason Chimera opened the scoring, as the Isles built an early 2-0 lead.

Hs second goal gave him his 500th career point and he completed his three-goal effort with an empty-netter with 1:44 left to ice the game.

Nick Leddy scored the eventual game-winning goal with a second period blast and added two assists.

The Panthers closed within a goal twice during during the tilt, but couldn’t take advantage of their opportunities to draw even.

Vincent Trocheck netted his team-leading thirteenth midway through the first, with the assists going to Jaromir Jagr and Keith Yandle.

Yandle and Trocheck combined to set up Reilly Smith for a power-play goal 1:49 into the final frame before Tavares restored New York two-goal lead 6:08 later.

Trocheck now has eleven points (5G/6A) in the last nine games.

Thomas Greiss made 27 saves to post the win while Roberto Luongo stopped 37 shots for the Cats.

The Panthers get right back at it, hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at 7 p.m.