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Recap: Islanders hand Panthers lump of coal and 5-1 defeat

The Florida Panthers will go into its five-day holiday break on a three-game losing streak and under NHL .500 after being soundly beaten 5-1 by the New York Islanders in front of a sellout crowd at UBS Arena.

Florida won the first period, scoring at 8:09 when Brandon Montour put a shot on net after a Scott Mayfield turnover and Matthew Tkachuk chipped the rebound over Ilya Sorokin with the teams skating 4-on-4. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 12 shots to get his team to the dressing room nursing the one-goal lead.

The Islanders would tie the tilt 5:20 into the middle frame. Brock Nelson beat Eric Staal on an offensive zone faceoff and Anthony Beauvillier dropped the puck back to defenseman Noah Dobson. Dobson’s shot was blocked by Marc Staal, but came to Beauvillier, who snapped it by a screened Bobrovsky. Two Staals don’t make a right…

New York went on to dominate the rest of the period, outshooting the Cats 16-6, and finally took the lead with 45 seconds remaining when J.G. Pageau won a faceoff back to Ryan Pulock and he skated down the right boards and put a shot in off the leg of Josh Mahura. Staal was the one who lost the defensive zone draw again. Pulock finished with a game-high six shots.

Rookie Aatu Raty put the Islanders up by two 7:10 into the third when he took a pass from Anders Lee, who got to Beauvillier’s dump around the boards, and cut into the slot before beating Bobrovsky.

A neutral zone turnover led to the next New York score as Alexander Romanov sent Zach Parise into the Panthers zone 2-on-1 with Hudson Fasching. Parise took the puck to the net and solved Bobrovsky’s glove with a rising backhand 1:11 after Raty’s goal. Tkachuk was in the midst of intercepting Romanov’s pass, but Parise swiped it from him before beginning his break.

Beauvillier completed the scoring with an empty-netter from Lee with 4:10 remaining in the game.

New York looked like a team interested in battling for a playoff spot while the Panthers completely checked out after the first period. Just a putrid performance in a big game by the Cats, who were outshot 43-23, went 0 for 3 on the power play and took a bunch of penalties that could’ve made the game even more of a laugher had the Islanders cashed in on any of their six chances. We won’t see the Cats until the 29th when they host the Montreal Canadiens. Good, we need a break.

Flotsam & Jetsam

  • Anthony Beauvillier’s first of the night was the 100th of his NHL career. He added an assist, tacked on another goal and registered five shots on goal to earn First Star honors.
  • Matthew Tkachuk, playing in 32nd game, reached 40 points in the fewest games by a Panthers player at the start of his tenure with the team. Pavel Bure hit 40 in 33 games in 1998-99.
  • Aatu Raty, a second round pick in 2021, scored in his NHL debut for the Islanders.  The 20-year-old finished with three shots and two hits in 11:25 of ice time.
  • Eric Staal saw his two-game scoring streak come to end in a game he finished with a -4 rating. Brandon Montour and Ryan Lomberg also went -4. Nick Cousins finished -3.
  • Givani Smith had one shot, a team-high four hits and 7 PIM in 7:01 TOI in his debut with the Panthers after being acquired from the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.
  • Defenseman Parker Wotherspoon had two shots on goal and one hit in 14:47 in his NHL debut after being called up from AHL Bridgeport.
  • The Islanders avoided an embarrassing season series sweep. Read more about it at Lighthouse Hockey./