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game recap

Reimer, Panthers shut out Islanders, gain in wild-card race

Goalie makes 32 saves; New York eliminated from playoff contention

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- The Florida Panthers moved within one point of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 win against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Monday.

James Reimer made 32 saves to win his fifth straight start, and Keith Yandle and Evgenii Dadonov each had a goal and an assist for Florida (39-28-7), which is one point behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card in the East with eight games remaining. The Panthers have one game in hand on the Devils.

"You're just enjoying every day; it's meaningful hockey," Reimer said. "We're at the end of March, early April here … this is what's fun. Obviously we're serious competitors and we're going to prepare like professionals, but at the end of the day when you're relaxed and having fun, that's when things go your way."

Video: Reimer earns Monday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

New York (31-35-10) was eliminated from playoff contention for a second straight season with the loss and has two wins in its past 16 games (2-10-4).

"We got off to a pretty good start this season; the second half of the year really hasn't been very good," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "We put ourselves in this position."

Yandle gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 11:38 of the first period when his shot from just inside the blue line found its way past Christopher Gibson. It was Yandle's eighth goal of the season and second in the past four games.


[WATCH: All Panthers vs. Islanders highlights]


The Panthers capitalized on a four-minute high sticking penalty against Mathew Barzal when Nick Bjugstad took a cross-ice feed from Jamie McGinn and beat Gibson with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle to make it 2-0 at 1:47 of the second period.

"There's not much breathing room here," Bjugstad said. "We don't want to be looking at it at the end of the season saying, 'We wish we would have had that one.' Guys are definitely realizing how important these games are. A lot of guys are stepping up to the plate. We've got a tough schedule coming up here, a lot of games, but it's going to be a fun challenge and guys are ready for it."

Dadonov made it 3-0 when his centering pass from the left wing struck Brandon Davidson's left skate and trickled past Gibson at 6:09 of the second. Reimer had the secondary assist.

Video: FLA@NYI: Dadonov banks puck in off defender's skate

Florida had 35 shots on goal after two periods.

Reimer preserved his fourth shutout of the season when he stretched across his crease to get his left pad on a shot by Anthony Beauvillier at 6:42 of the third period.

"Just close your eyes and pray; that's my motto," Reimer said. "They're a really good team and they've got a lot of high-end talent and they can put the puck in the back of the net. For me, I just try to be big in there and I tried to read the puck as best I could." 

Gibson made 38 saves.

"We've got six games left here and we're going to lay it on the line," Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey said. "That's the message from coaches to management … we've got a job to do and we're going to do our best." 


Goal of the game

Yandle's goal at 11:38 of the first period.

Video: FLA@NYI: Yandle buries long shot through traffic


Save of the game

Reimer's save on Beauvillier at 6:42 of the third period.

Video: FLA@NYI: Reimer stones Beauvillier's chance in front


Highlight of the game

Bjugstad's power-play goal at 1:47 of the second period.

Video: FLA@NYI: Bjugstad snaps home PPG from the circle


They said it

"This time of year, every game is so big for us. There's not a lot of time in between games, we've got another back-to-back coming up. We're just trying to reserve as much as we can and get the emotions up when it's game time and try and relax when it's not. It's going to be a big push for us in the next two weeks, and we're going to need every ounce of energy that we have." -- Panthers coach Bob Boughner 


"It's tough. It's tough for us, and it's not good enough. It's tough for the fans, it's tough for everybody involved. All we can say is we're going to be better, we're going to be better soon. I believe it. We've all got to be better; I've got to be better. We've got to find a way to make our team better quickly. I think we have the ingredients and we have the drive, and we're going to work at it. We can't ignore it. But we have a good team and a good group and we'll figure some things out." -- Islanders coach Doug Weight 


Need to know

The Panthers are 20-6-1 in their past 27 games. … Dadonov has had at least two points in nine of his past 16 games. … Panthers forward Micheal Haley played his 200th NHL game. … The Islanders are 5-14-1 at home since Jan. 2. They are 2-22-5 when scoring two goals or fewer.


What's next

Panthers: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Islanders: At the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, MSG+, NHL.TV)


Video: Reimer, Yandle power Panthers past Islanders, 3-0

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