SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers quickly got the message their general manager sent with a big trade shortly before the opening faceoff.
Tim Kennedy scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and Jacob Markstrom earned his first NHL victory in relief of Jose Theodore to lift the Panthers past the New York Islanders 4-2 on Saturday night.
Florida's victory came hours after the Panthers traded left wing David Booth, centre Steve Reinprecht and a third-round pick in the 2013 draft to the Vancouver Canucks for veteran forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm.
Panthers GM Dale Tallon said he made the trade, in part, to tell his team that it had better play better than it did in consecutive shutout losses earlier in the week.
"They played a heck of a lot harder than they have the last two games," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "It still went right down to the wire. Boy, that was a heck of a third period, not only by Jacob but the penalty killers went out there and they did the job."
Markstrom stopped 18 shots after replacing Theodore during the first minute of the third period when the game was tied 2-2.
"As a backup goalie, that's your job ??? to always be prepared if something happens," Markstrom said. "I just wanted to come in there and help the team out as much as I could."
Theodore had made eight saves before he left.
"Theo has some core things that started to bother him a little bit there in the second period and I thought of pulling him halfway through the second. I was like, 'You know, I'll give Markie a chance to get warmed up,'" Dineen said.
Kris Versteeg and Matt Bradley also scored for the Panthers. Shawn Matthias added an empty-net goal with 24 seconds left, immediately after leaving the penalty box.
Mark Streit and John Tavares scored for New York, and Evgeni Nabokov made 29 saves.
Kennedy gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead at 4:00 of the third period. Matthias had the puck behind the Islanders net and fed Kennedy, who was skating in. Kennedy one-timed the puck past Nabokov for his first goal.
"This is a hard league, and those goals don't come easy," Kennedy said. "But that's how you've got to score, from the hash marks down because you're not going to make those pretty plays.
"There's very few guys that can go through the whole team, so you've got to get the puck deep and get it on net."
The Panthers also beat the Islanders 2-0 on Oct. 8 at New York in the season-opener for both teams.
Markstrom stopped Michael Grabner on a breakaway at 8:03 of the third, and the Islanders failed to score with a two-man advantage for 43 seconds in the final 2 1/2 minutes.
"When we were desperate, we played. That's the frustrating part, that we didn't play 60 minutes," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.
Tavares' team-leading sixth goal tied it at 2-2 during a power play at 14:32 of the second. A tripping penalty called on Jack Skille set up the goal.
Tavares won a faceoff in the left circle, and Streit grabbed the puck and skated backward toward the middle of the ice. Streit then fired a wrist shot that was deflected in by Tavares.
Bradley's goal at 13:39 of the second gave Florida a 2-1 lead. Matthias made a nifty move from the right corner to get around defenceman Streit and then sent the puck toward the net. Bradley backhanded the puck past Nabokov.
Versteeg put a wrist shot past Nabokov at 14:39 of the first to tie it at 1 and give him four goals this season.
New York opened the scoring when Streit's slap shot during a power play beat Theodore at 1:01 of the first.
Nabokov stopped Tomas Kopecky on a penalty shot at 2:39 of the first after Kopecky had been taken down by Andrew MacDonald on a breakaway.
"I thought Nabokov played great for us. He weathered the storm in the first period and gave us a chance to win," Capuano said. "Third period, we had some chances, but it was too little, too late."
NOTES: Florida had lost its two previous games 3-0, to Washington and Buffalo. ... Panthers D Ed Jovanovski returned to the lineup after missing Thursday's game because of a hip injury. ... The Islanders are 0-9-1 in their last 10 visits to Florida. ... The Panthers begin a three-game road trip at Montreal on Monday. ... The Islanders will start a home-and-home set against Pittsburgh on Long Island on Tuesday.