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Islanders-Panthers Playoff History

Looking back at the key moments in the Islanders-Panthers playoff series in 2016

by Cory Wright WrightsWay /

The New York Islanders and Florida Panthers are meeting in the postseason for the second time in four years

The Islanders beat the Panthers in six games back in 2016, with John Tavares scoring the double-OT winner in Game 6 to give the Isles their first playoff series win in 23 years. 

Ten current Islanders played in the 2016 playoffs against Florida: Josh Bailey, Johnny Boychuk, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey, Nick Leddy, Matt Martin, Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock. Anders Lee missed the 2016 postseason after breaking his leg in third-last game of the regular season. 

"[I remember] the ups and downs, I think that's how playoffs is to begin with," Leddy said during Training Camp. "With that series, it was so back and forth, both teams played great and eventually we came out on top. It was a really fun, fast and physical series for sure."

Four Panthers remain from the series: Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Matheson. 

The Islanders won Games 1, 3, 5 and 6, while Florida took Games 2 and 4. Three of the Isles wins came in overtime, with Thomas Hickey scoring the winner in a 4-3 win in Game 3, Alan Quine ending a 2-1 double-OT thriller in Game 5 and Tavares clinching the series with a 2-1 win in Game 6. 

Before the Isles and Panthers drop the puck again, takes a look back at some of the key moments in that 2016 series. 

Video: Overturned goal leads to dramatic OT-winner for Isles

One of the more pivotal moments of the series came in the second period of Game 3. A buzzing Barclays Center was growing concerned as the Panthers opened up a 2-0 lead early in the second period. That concern bordered on full-blown panic when Aaron Ekblad seemingly made it 3-0 before the five-minute mark. 

Just as the game appeared to be getting away, the Islanders were thrown a lifeline by Matt Bertani, the team's video coach and eye in the sky. Bertani caught Jonathan Huberdeau entering the zone before the puck and radioed it down to the bench for Jack Capuano to challenge. The refs took a look and overturned the goal, giving the Islanders some much-needed momentum. Ryan Pulock scored just over a minute later to get the Isles back in the game. 

"Our video coach did a great job calling that into us tonight and I think that was the turning point," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said after the game. "[Being] down by two is a lot different than down by three."

Hickey eventually played the hero in OT, pinching off the blue line to snap Brock Nelson's below-the-goal feed past Roberto Luongo. 

 Video: NYI@FLA, Gm5: Greiss robs Barkov's penalty shot in OT

Thomas Greiss was otherworldly in net for the Islanders during the series, posting a 1.79 GAA and a .944 SV% over the six-game series. Greiss set the foundation for wins in Games 5 and 6, allowing two total goals in a pair of marathon double-OT games. Greiss stopped 47 shots in Game 5, none bigger than a Barkov penalty shot in the first OT. The German goalie was just as good in Game 6, turning aside 41 shots, keeping the Isles within striking distance in a game where they didn't score until the final minute. 

"It was a great time, great fans in the building and just a great energy," Greiss said reflecting back on the series. "Mostly it was just a joy with the guys playing in that series. It was a hard fought series by both teams and a really tight games going to those overtimes. It was just a lot of fun." 

Video: FLA@NYI, Gm6: Tavares ties it in 3rd, wins it in 2OT


The end of the third period in Game 6 provided one of the most dramatic sequences of the series. The Islanders trailed 1-0 and were stuck in their own zone with their net empty. Leddy was all that stood between the Isles and a Game 7, as he blocked an Ekblad wrister with 1:08 to play. After he blocked the shot in front of the crease, the Isles defenseman rushed the puck from end-to-end, dropping a pass to Nikolay Kulemin, whose rebound was deposited by Tavares. 

Tavares won the game a period and a half later, scoring the OT-winner on a terrific individual effort. Tavares shot low on Luongo creating a rebound that he took around the back of the net and tucked in with a backhanded wraparound. All Luongo could do was lunge across the net, as Barclays Center erupted. 

All good memories if you're an Isles fan, but all in the past now as well. The Isles from that series are looking to make some new ones when the puck drops on Saturday. 

Video: Tavares nets GWG in 2OT, Isles clinch series

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