FLORIDA 3, NYI 2: Power-play goals by Bailey and Hunter are not enough, as Islanders' four-game winning streak is snapped
by Joshua A. Bernstein
The Florida Panthers defeated the Islanders, 3-2, Thursday night at BankAtlantic Center to snap the Islanders' four-game winning streak. Despite power-play goals from Josh Bailey and Trent Hunter, the Islanders couldn't erase an early two-goal deficit.
The Panthers opened the scoring five minutes into the first period. After the Islanders failed to clear their zone, Richard Zednik tipped the puck along the right side boards to David Booth, who found Jay Bouwmeester at the blue line. Bouwmeester fired a slap shot through a heavy screen and past Islanders goaltender Joey MacDonald for his 12th goal of the season at 5:41.
Karlis Skrastins tallied late in the period to give the Panthers a two-goal advantage. Stephen Weiss fed a pass to Bryan McCabe at the blue line. McCabe then dangled to the left side before dropping the puck to Skrastins alone in the slot. Skrastins blasted a slap shot past MacDonald on the blocker side for his fourth goal of the season at 16:53.
The Islanders cut their deficit in half with a power-play goal midway through the second period. Frans Nielsen passed to Bailey on the right side. Bailey fed the puck to the left point for Chris Campoli, who sent a pass right back to Bailey. The 19-year-old rookie then rifled a one-timer past Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun on the short side for his second goal of the season at 8:22.
The Panthers retook a two-goal lead four minutes later on a beautiful individual effort by Zednik. McCabe found the winger on the right side. Zednik then used the boards to push the puck past Radek Martinek and hopped over Brendan Witt with a fancy deke before sliding a shot through MacDonald's legs for his eighth goal of the season at 12:39. Nathan Horton also earned a secondary assist on the play.
Hunter got the Islanders back within one with a power-play tally just two minutes later. Immediately off the face-off, Bailey whacked the puck to Hunter as he skated toward the slot. Hunter zipped a backhander past Vokoun for his 14th goal of the season at 14:51. For Hunter, the goal marked his third tally in the last four games.
The Islanders pulled MacDonald with 1:25 remaining, but couldn't solve Vokoun in the waning moments of the game.
MacDonald had 26 saves in his first action since January 13th, while Vokoun recorded 20 stops
The Islanders finished 2-for-4 on the power play, with five shots. The Panthers went 0-for-2 with the man advantage, logging four shots. The Panthers out-shot the Islanders overall, 29-22. Three Stars of the Game:
1. Richard Zednik: made an amazing individual play for the game-winning goal
2. Jay Bouwmeester: scored the Panthers’ first goal, led all skaters with 25:14 of ice time
3. Josh Bailey: scored a goal and added an assist for his third multi-point game of the season
Honorable Mention – Chris Campoli: led all Islanders with 24:24 of ice time and 5:08 of power-play time
Slap Shots: Trent Hunter (3g, 1a) has points in four straight games...Kyle Okposo's (5g, 1a) five-game point streak was snapped...Hunter led the Islanders with four shots, while Brendan Witt paced the club with four hits...Defensemen Joe Callahan and Jack Hillen were recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis this afternoon and both skated in place of injured defensemen Mark Streit (upper-body strain) and Thomas Pock (hand injury)..Center Nate Thompson left the game with a shoulder injury after getting hit by David Booth in the first period, and did not return...Streit, Jon Sim (healthy) and Jeff Tambellini (healthy) were the Islanders' scratches.