Panthers 5, Islanders 3

Cory Wright | Sunday, 03.02.2014 / 6:54 PM

Despite a three-point game from Thomas Vanek, the Islanders could not hold a third-period lead, falling 5-3 to the Florida Panthers Sunday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum.

Vanek scored twice in the opening frame and assisted on Ryan Strome’s second-period goal, but the Islanders 3-1 lead evaporated as the Panthers scored four goals in the final 20 minutes.

“It’s frustrating,” Vanek said. “I thought we played a good game. We got the lead and we were working hard. We had a lot of chances to make it 4-1 and 5-1… If you don’t bury a team they’ll get back in it.”

The 3-1 lead vanished in a 1:02 span, as Marcel Goc and Shawn Matthias beat goalie Anders Nilsson to tie the score at three. Goc scored on a long wrister that deflected off Matt Carkner’s leg and under the crossbar, while Matthias got behind Andrew MacDonald in close and beat Nilsson one-on-one. Scottie Upshall scored the Panthers next two goals; he and Matthias each finished the game with two goals and an assist.

“The way that we are losing is frustrating to me because it isn’t a structural problem or a systematic function of what we are doing,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “We mismanaged the puck.”

The conclusion hardly reflected the rock ‘em, sock ‘em, fiery first period from the Islanders, which saw 22 combined penalty minutes in the first three minutes and a 2-0 Islanders lead shortly after.

Vanek scored twice in 58 seconds, beating Tim Thomas cleanly to the top corner for his first and deflecting a Lubomir Visnovsky shot on the power play for his second. The goals were Vanek’s 20th and 21st of the season, cementing his ninth straight campaign with at least 20.

Armed with a 2-0 lead, the Islanders went on a two-minute, five-on-three power play, but were unable to add to their lead.

“I thought we had some good looks, but also some looks that we passed up,” Capuano said.

Matthias knocked in a Jonathan Huberdeau rebound to put the Panthers on the board late in the second period, but Strome answered for the Islanders 59 seconds later. The Islanders rookie was in good position at the top of the crease and slid his second-career goal under Tim Thomas with 46 seconds to play in the second period.

“We had chances and you have to bury,” Strome said. “If you don’t put teams away, they will come back and haunt you.”

Nilsson finished the game with 29 saves, while Thomas made 35 in the win.

The Islanders now embark on a four-game Western Canadian road trip, starting in Winnipeg on Tuesday night. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. eastern time.

NOTES: Frans Nielsen returned to the lineup after missing two games with a broken hand… Travis Hamonic missed Sunday’s game while serving a one-game suspension… Andrew MacDonald led the Islanders with 25:56 TOI… Thomas Vanek had a team-high seven shots.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
06:41NYI Thomas Vanek (20) ASST: Cal Clutterbuck (5), Calvin de Haan (10) 1 - 0 NYI
07:39NYI PPG - Thomas Vanek (21) ASST: Lubomir Visnovsky (4), Brock Nelson (10) 2 - 0 NYI
2nd Period
18:15FLA Shawn Matthias (8) ASST: Scottie Upshall (18) 2 - 1 NYI
19:14NYI Ryan Strome (2) ASST: Thomas Vanek (32), Kyle Okposo (36) 3 - 1 NYI
3rd Period
03:16FLA Marcel Goc (11) ASST: Jonathan Huberdeau (15), Tom Gilbert (24) 3 - 2 NYI
04:18FLA Shawn Matthias (9) ASST: Jimmy Hayes (2), Jonathan Huberdeau (16) 3 - 3 Tie
10:31FLA Scottie Upshall (11) ASST: Shawn Matthias (7), Brian Campbell (22) 4 - 3 FLA
15:26FLA PPG - Jimmy Hayes (5) ASST: Scottie Upshall (19), Dylan Olsen (8) 5 - 3 FLA
Three Stars of the Game
Shawn Matthias
Shawn Matthias
G: 2Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 2
+/-: 3TOI: 12:09
Scottie Upshall
Scottie Upshall
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 15:23
Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek
G: 2Shots: 7
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 21:26
Penalty Summary
1st Period
02:25NYI Eric Boulton  Fighting (maj) against  Krys Barch
02:25FLA Krys Barch  Fighting (maj) against  Eric Boulton
02:33NYI Matt Carkner  Roughing against  Shawn Matthias
02:33NYI Brian Strait  Roughing against  Dmitry Kulikov
02:33NYI Brian Strait  Hi-sticking against  Jonathan Huberdeau
02:33FLA Shawn Matthias  Roughing against  Matt Carkner
02:33FLA Jonathan Huberdeau  Roughing against  Brian Strait
02:33FLA Jonathan Huberdeau  Tripping against  Brian Strait
06:53FLA Dmitry Kulikov  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
09:28FLA Jesse Winchester  Roughing against  Cal Clutterbuck
09:28FLA Erik Gudbranson  Cross checking against  Cal Clutterbuck
12:18NYI Colin McDonald  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Erik Gudbranson
12:18FLA Erik Gudbranson  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Colin McDonald
12:18NYI Casey Cizikas  Holding against  Tom Gilbert
2nd Period
01:50NYI Matt Carkner  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
02:29FLA Jonathan Huberdeau  Roughing against  Cal Clutterbuck
02:29NYI Cal Clutterbuck  Roughing against  Jonathan Huberdeau
04:38FLA Erik Gudbranson  Tripping against  Kyle Okposo
14:23FLA Sean Bergenheim  Hooking against  Frans Nielsen
3rd Period
00:18FLA Sean Bergenheim  Interference against  Brian Strait
14:13NYI Matt Carkner  Holding against  Marcel Goc
15:26NYI Casey Cizikas  Slashing against  Scottie Upshall
19:27NYI Kyle Okposo  Roughing against  Dmitry Kulikov
19:27FLA Dmitry Kulikov  Roughing against  Kyle Okposo
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/41/6
Faceoff Wins4128
Blocked Shots1412
Penalty Minutes2925
4D. OlsenD01-12018:17
7D. KulikovD0033423:49
11J. HuberdeauL0211612:40
12J. HayesR111108:52
14T. FleischmannL0013018:13
15D. ShoreC0000012:14
17J. WinchesterC0002215:21
18S. MatthiasC2134212:09
19S. UpshallR1224015:23
20S. BergenheimL0001416:47
21K. BarchR000052:54
24B. BoyesR00-14019:18
27N. BjugstadC00-11017:45
43M. WeaverD0020020:50
44E. GudbransonD00-11617:38
51B. CampbellD0111018:24
57M. GocC1004019:25
77T. GilbertD0102018:42
34T. Thomas3538.92160:00
7M. CarknerD000268:19
11L. VisnovskyD01-23022:45
12J. BaileyR0002020:01
13C. McDonaldR00-1027:00
14T. HickeyD00-11016:52
15C. ClutterbuckR0102213:19
18R. StromeR10-13017:59
21K. OkposoR01-15220:34
26T. VanekL2107021:26
27A. LeeL00-12016:27
29B. NelsonL0113015:12
36E. BoultonL00-1355:12
37B. StraitD0000417:52
40M. GrabnerR0002013:40
44C. de HaanD0102020:39
47A. MacDonaldD00-11025:56
51F. NielsenC00-10020:16
53C. CizikasC00-10410:04
45A. Nilsson2934.85358:41