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Petrovic, Panthers top Islanders in Game 4

Defenseman scores winner at 9:25 of third period; Florida ties series 2-2

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- Defenseman Alex Petrovic scored the go-ahead goal 9:25 into the third period, and the Florida Panthers defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 at Barclays Center on Wednesday to even their Eastern Conference First Round series at two wins apiece.

Petrovic, who has two goals in 112 regular-season games during parts of four NHL seasons, took a pass from Derek MacKenzie, moved toward the top of the right circle and took a wrist shot that went through traffic and past Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss to break a 1-1 tie.

"MacKenzie made a nice play to me. He found me open and I just threw it on net, and it went in. It feels good," Petrovic said. "I'm not used to scoring those kind of goals or scoring a lot of goals. It just feels good that everyone's working hard. It could have been anyone in here, but it feels great that we got the 'W' and that's all that matters right now. 

"I think we all played a solid game tonight. It was 20 guys. I don't think there was any inconsistencies in there. I think throughout the whole game, everybody played hard. I think that's a good response from a tough game last game. It's just nice to go home with the series tied."

Video: FLA@NYI, Gm4: Petrovic fakes, nets wrister for lead

Florida coach Gerard Gallant was impressed with the way Petrovic took his time and moved to give himself a better shooting angle.

"It was a pretty nice goal," Gallant said. "He showed some patience."

Florida's Teddy Purcell and New York's John Tavares each scored a power-play goal in the second period. Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr had the lone assist on Purcell's goal; it was his 200th Stanley Cup Playoff point. He is fifth on the all-time list.

Roberto Luongo made 26 saves for Florida, which controlled play for most of the game. Greiss finished with 27 saves for New York, which was unable to build on a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 3. The Islanders have not won consecutive playoff games since 2002, when they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Video: FLA@NYI, Gm4: Tavares goes top-shelf to tie the game

"You're not going to win many games when you score one goal," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We gave up 22 shots at even strength, our structure was pretty good, but we didn't create much."

The series returns to Sunrise, Fla., for Game 5 on Friday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports, MSG+, SUN).

""There's no time to dwell [on the loss]. We get right back at it," New York defenseman Travis Hamonic said. "We're confident in our team, and we know we can get the job done."

Florida outshot New York 10-5 and had 24 shot attempts to 10 for the Islanders in a scoreless first period.

"We didn't manage the puck well," Capuano said. "That was probably the worst period we played all year."

Video: FLA@NYI, Gm4: Jagr finds Purcell to open the scoring

The Panthers had nothing to show for their first-period dominance, but Gallant said there was no frustration.

"They stayed with it and competed," Gallant said. "I thought our desperation was real good from the puck drop."

Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau put the puck into the net at 10:45 of the second period when he slid into Greiss after the goaltender stopped his breakaway and the puck went over the goal line. The play was called no goal on the ice because Huberdeau was ruled to have pushed Greiss into the net with the puck, and the call was upheld after video review. Gallant then challenged the call, but the no-goal ruling upheld again.

"I still don't understand it," Gallant said. "I don't know what the rule is exactly. They tried to explain it to me. I thought it was a good goal."

Video: FLA@NYI, Gm4: Luongo makes a pad save on Okposo

The Islanders thought they had scored 90 seconds later when Josh Bailey poked his own rebound past Luongo. But he did it an instant after the whistle had blown, and the goal was disallowed.

Florida finally scored a goal that counted with 4:42 left in the period when Purcell converted a passout from Jagr, putting a wrist shot from the lower left circle into a half-empty net with New York's Matt Martin off for tripping.

The Islanders tied the game with 15.3 seconds remaining in the period. One second after a 5-on-3 power play turned into a 5-on-4 advantage, Tavares scored his fourth of the series by beating Luongo with a wrist shot from the lower right circle that caught the top far corner.

Video: FLA@NYI, Gm4: Greiss denies Bjugstad on the doorstep

"It's a tough one to give up late in the period like that, especially when taking a lead," Luongo said. "But we stuck with it. We knew that we were playing a good game as a team, and we just wanted to keep doing what we were doing."

Gallant is pleased with what he's seen so far in the series.

"The teams are evenly matched, and it shows on the scoreboard," Gallant said. "I like the way the four games have gone for our club. I think we're getting a lot of scoring chances. Some of our key guys haven't put the puck in the net, but some other guys have. I think we have more to give."

Video: Luongo, Petrovic lead Panthers to 2-1 win over Isles

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