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Instant analysis: Islanders vs. Panthers, Game 1

Top line, Greiss the difference for New York; quick turnaround Friday

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The New York Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers 5-4 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round at BB&T Center on Thursday.

New York's top line of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen each scored a goal. Tavares, who had nine points over his final four games of the regular season, had a goal and two assists.

What we learned: The Islanders escaped despite allowing several quality chances and giving the Panthers time to create. New York must make adjustments in the defensive end Friday if it plans to go home with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

What this means for Islanders: New York showed resiliency by tying the game three times before seizing control in the third period. The Islanders received big contributions from Tavares, Okposo and Nielsen, but also from forward Ryan Strome, who struggled almost the entire regular season. He had a goal and an assist.

Video: NYI@FLA, Gm1: Strome nets a rebound past Luongo

What this means for Panthers: Despite outplaying New York for large stretches, Florida must find a way to win Friday or it will head to New York down two games with the series shifting to Barclays Center for Game 3 on Sunday. The Panthers will need more in Game 2 from goalie Roberto Luongo, who allowed five goals on 26 shots.

Key moment:Trailing 3-2 late in the second period, Tavares tied the game when he took a cross-ice feed from Kyle Okposo and put it past Luongo with 21.8 seconds remaining. It gave New York momentum heading into the third, when it scored twice in the first 6:01 of the period.

Video: NYI@FLA, Gm1: Tavares fires home Okposo's feed

Unsung player of the game: Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss did just enough in his first postseason start and made several key saves over the course of the game, none bigger than a sliding pad stop on Jaromir Jagr in the final minute. Greiss made 42 saves and is expected to start again Friday.

What's next: Game 2 is here Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, SUN, MSG+). The Panthers have little time to dwell on the loss with the back-to-back situation.

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