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game recap

Greiss, Islanders hold off Panthers to sweep season series

Makes 32 saves; New York scores two power-play goals

by Alain Poupart / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Greiss' huge stop on Connolly

NYI@FLA: Greiss robs Connolly to preserve lead

Thomas Greiss gets across to make a stellar save on Brett Connolly and keep the Islanders ahead late in the 3rd period

  • 00:26 •

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Thomas Greiss made 32 saves, and the New York Islanders completed a season sweep of the Florida Panthers with a 3-1 win at BB&T Center on Thursday.

Devon Toews and Mathew Barzal scored power-play goals for the Islanders (21-7-2), who swept the Panthers for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

"We hung on a few times," New York coach Barry Trotz said. "They've got a really good team and obviously (coach) Joel [Quenneville has] got them playing well this year. They were hard to handle. We've been fortunate that our goaltender has been outstanding in the games and we were able to keep their power play in check for the most part in the games. That's big too."

 

[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Panthers highlights]

 

Mike Hoffman scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for the Panthers (15-11-5), who are 3-3-0 during a nine-game homestand. Florida lost 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

"This game, we didn't create enough good scoring chances," Panthers center Aleksander Barkov said. "We had a couple, but not as much as we wanted. We've just got to play better offensively and play a little bit less time in our own zone because we've been playing for a while now too much time in our zone. We've just got to get in the offensive zone and stay there."

Toews gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead 49 seconds into the second period with a wrist shot from the point. It was his third goal of the season, his first since Oct. 14.

"He got the puck through," Trotz said. "We had a great screen, a double screen. It'd have been hard for the goaltender to do much there. Yeah, he's playing really well. Our whole defense corps really stepped up the last couple of games."

Barzal made it 2-0 at 4:40 after the Islanders stopped a clearing attempt inside the Panthers zone. He completed a tic-tac-toe passing play with Josh Bailey and Eberle.

Video: NYI@FLA: Barzal scores PPG off feed from Eberle

Hoffman made it 2-1 at 9:36 with a wrist shot from the left circle on a 2-on-1.

Greiss made a sprawling pad save against Brett Connolly with about four minutes left in the third period to preserve the Islanders' lead. Anders Lee scored an empty-net goal with three seconds left for the 3-1 final.

The Islanders were 2-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.

"Every night, I see Greiss going, [Semyon Varlamov], it doesn't matter, we play in front of them," Eberle said of the Islanders goalies. "The whole [defense] are going and it seems we just roll on. So it's tough to really get too high and get too much of an ego. You have to put yourself and your egos aside and play within the structure and play the mentality that we have, and we've been winning hockey games doing it. We want to continue to do that. And when the special teams start to click on top of that, we'll be a tough team to beat."

Video: NYI@FLA: Toews snaps home power-play goal

The Islanders defeated the Panthers 3-2 in a shootout at Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 12 and 2-1 at Barclays Center on Nov. 9.

"They're a really good team," Barkov said. "They play really well. They stay on the pucks and play the right way all the time, the whole 60 minutes. They don't [make] mistakes and we've got to learn from that. We've got to play the same way. We've got to play a simple game just like they do and try to stay in the offensive zone as much as possible."

 

They said it

"We're looking forward to getting home. We've been away from it for a little bit while now, but I think we did a pretty good job of taking care of business when we needed to and turning this trip around and having a good response after a big trip out West and all that stuff. We did a really good job. We're doing our job and sticking to it." -- Islanders captain Anders Lee on finishing a stretch of 10 of 13 games on the road

"It's unfortunate to lose the game, but I think we've got great guys and we've got a great team. Sometimes, there will be times when things don't go well. But it is what it is. It's the NHL. It's not easy to win. But again, I think we have a great group of guys and very talented and very skilled guys and we believe in each other. We're going to work hard and move on." -- Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky

 

Need to know

Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech needed stitches after taking a high hit from Panthers forward Brian Boyle in the second period but played the third period. ... Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson was a healthy scratch for the first time this season.

 

What's next

Islanders: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; MSG+, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Panthers: Host the Boston Bruins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-F, NESN, NHL.TV)

Video: Greiss, Islanders top Panthers

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