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Islanders aim to end home woes against Panthers

by Brian Compton

PANTHERS (9-17-6) at ISLANDERS (13-15-3)


Last 10: Florida 3-6-1; New York 5-4-1.

Season series: This is the second of three meetings. The Islanders notched a 4-3 victory against the Panthers on March 16 at the BB&T Center.

Big story: Sunday marks the conclusion of a four-game homestand for the Islanders. They are 0-3 thus far and have tallied only 12 of a possible 36 points at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum this season (5-11-2).

Despite their poor showings on home ice, the Isles are just three points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Florida, meanwhile, is last in the NHL with 24 points.

Team scope:

Panthers: Florida played the third of a five-game road trip Saturday, when it suffered a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. Peter Mueller cut his team’s deficit in half at 19:50 of the second period, but the Panthers were unable to notch the equalizer in the third.

"As of late, we're playing pretty good," said Florida goaltender Scott Clemmensen, who made 23 saves against the Devils. "As a result, we're in every game and that gives us a chance to win. I thought it was a well-played game, and the score was a result of that.

"It's tough to win on the road. We played a pretty good hockey game, but it was tough to lose."

Islanders: After dropping games to the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens earlier in the week, the Isles fell to 0-3 on the homestand with a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. New York recorded the first 12 shots on goal of the game, but managed only one tally in the opening period and found itself locked in a 2-2 tie through 40 minutes. Brandon Sutter tallied what proved to be the game-winner just 1:46 into the third period.

“I thought our guys gave it all they had tonight,” Isles coach Jack Capuano said after the loss. “We sacrificed, we had the will. It’s three games in a row we’ve out-chanced our opponent and lost.

“We’ve had opportunities to score goals, we haven’t. Everything gets magnified when you make one mistake and it’s in the back of your net. Our guys played hard, but it’s not good enough. We’ve got to find ways to win games.”

Who’s hot: Panthers winger Tomas Fleischmann has a goal and two assists in the past four games. … Josh Bailey has two goals and an assist in the past three for New York.

Injury report: Florida forward George Parros (upper body) is day-to-day, while goalie Jose Theodore (groin), defensemen Michael Caruso (wrist), Mike Weaver (lower body) and forwards Stephen Weiss (wrist) and Kris Versteeg (knee) are on injured reserve. … The Islanders will be without defenseman Brian Strait (ankle) and forward David Ullstrom (groin).

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