UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) _ The New York Islanders used 30 seconds of free time
to change the momentum and earn a valuable two points.
Jason Blake scored with 8:12 left and added an empty-net goal to help the
Islanders beat Florida 4-2 on Saturday night.
Florida took a 2-1 lead midway through the game, and Islanders coach Steve
Stirling took his one allotted 30-second timeout.
``Florida had huge momentum, and I didn't want us to get down 3-1,''
Stirling said. ``I wanted to slow their momentum down.''
Blake sent a wrist shot past Roberto Luongo from the left circle to give New
York its first win of the season when trailing after two periods (1-17-2-0).
Blake also added a short-handed empty-net goal with a minute left.
Radek Martinek and Trent Hunter also scored for the Islanders, and Garth
Snow made 25 saves.
``It (the timeout) had an impact,'' Islanders forward Cliff Ronning said.
``We were heading the wrong way. We were getting outplayed, outhustled and
Eric Beaudoin and Steven Weiss scored for the Panthers, winless in three
straight (0-2-1-0). Luongo made 27 saves.
The best chance in the scoreless first period came with less than two
minutes left. Snow made a sliding pad save on Juraj Kolnik's in-close try.
Martinek opened the scoring 80 seconds into the middle period when his high
wrist shot beat Luongo, who was screened.
The Panthers struck later for a pair of goals in a 1:48 span to take the
lead. Beaudoin tied it at 9:30 when he tucked a rebound of Pavel Trnka's shot
just inside the left post.
Sloppy defense led to Weiss' go-ahead goal at 11:18. Left alone to Snow's
left, Weiss took a perfect centering pass from Byron Ritchie and buried it into
the open net.
Hunter tied it on New York's first power-play opportunity, tipping Adrian
Aucoin's shot past Luongo at 3:32 of the final period.
``When we scored that power play goal early in the third, we seemed to pick
up a lot of momentum on our side,'' Islanders defenseman Kenny Jonsson said.
The Panthers had a chance to close the gap on the Islanders, but instead,
now trail by nine points, while the Islanders climbed into a seventh-place tie
``It's frustrating,'' Panthers forward Byron Ritchie said. ``This game meant
a lot in the playoff race. We played well for two periods. I don't know what
happened in the third period. We seem to give up a lot of chances when we have
the lead. We might have had a mental collapse.''