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Panthers defeat Islanders in goal-filled shootout

by Alain Poupart /

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers were involved in another record-setting shootout Friday, and they again found a way to win it.

The Panthers went 5-for-5 in the shootout to defeat the New York Islanders 3-2 at BB&T Center.

Aleksander Barkov scored the deciding goal with a deke to the backhand after the teams traded goals in each of the first four rounds of the shootout.

"As long as we won it, it didn't matter (how it went),"���Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "I'm sure it was entertaining for the fans and the guys did a good job; we scored a lot of goals. Probably another record, I'm assuming."

The nine straight goals indeed were the most to open a shootout since the tiebreaker was introduced in the 2005-06 season.

Florida goalie Roberto Luongo made a pad save on Brock Nelson's wrist shot in the bottom of the fifth round to end the game.

Luongo also was in net for the Panthers on Dec. 16, 2014, when they played in the longest-ever shootout and defeated the Washington Capitals in the 20th round at BB&T���Center.

"This time, we were trying to go 20 rounds but without making a save,"���Luongo said. "It didn't work out that way. It kind of hit me by accident there. But we'll take it."

Brandon Pirri, Vincent Trocheck, Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the shootout for the Panthers, with Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, John Tavares and Josh Bailey answering for the Islanders.

"It was exciting,"���Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "I've been a part of it a few times. We had five shooters in the American league about five or six years ago when we had that many goals, but it just seemed like goals kept coming. Fortunately for them, they got the one they needed."

Pirri is 3-for-3 on shootouts this season.

"We won, so we'll take it,"���Pirri said. "So many times [Luongo]���has stopped the puck for us and then we grind out like a 1-0 win, so it was good to help him out."

Pirri and Jussi Jokinen scored in regulation for Florida.

The Islanders had a power play for the first 35 seconds of overtime, and the Panthers' Connor Brickley had a breakaway when he grabbed a loose puck after coming out of the box for the too many men on the ice penalty.

New York has two goals on its past 36 power-play opportunities after going 0-for-1 against Florida.

"I can't fault the guys on their work ethic,"���Capuano said. "We had a 35-second power play in overtime, too, but we didn't even muster a shot.

"Power plays are timely situations, and we had another one tonight. We're just not capitalizing on our chances. If we're going to win hockey games, we're going to have to score on the power play, there's no question about it."

Luongo made 23 saves and passed Glenn Hall for eighth place on the NHL's all-time list with his 408th career victory.

Luongo made a spectacular save with 1:29 left to keep the score 2-2 when he got his arm on Nelson's redirect in front of the net.

Jaromir Jagr, who did not return after leaving the game at 8:39 of the third period, remained one goal behind Marcel Dionne for fourth place on the NHL's all-time list for goals with 731, but he had an assist for his Panthers-leading 18th point. He has a goal and four assists during a five-game point streak.

The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Panthers (9-9-4), who start a five-game road trip Sunday afternoon against the Detroit Red Wings after wrapping up a five-game homestand at 2-2-1.

Florida won for the fourth time in 13 games (4-6-3).

"It was big for us,"���������Luongo said. "We've been up and down for quite a while, but this was the last game before a long road trip, so it was important for us to get the win."

Ryan Strome and Bailey scored for the Islanders. Strome, the fifth pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, was back in the Islanders lineup after being recalled Wednesday from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League.

Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves for the Islanders (11-8-4), who lost for the third time in four games. Halak came in with a 9-2-0 career record and 1.89 goals-against average against the Panthers.

Florida led 2-0 heading into the third period before New York tied the game with two goals in 3:03.

Strome made it 2-1 at 5:36 with a wrist shot over Luongo's glove from the right dot after getting a pass from Mikhail Grabovski. Bailey tied it at 8:39 with a shot from the slot that bounced in off the stick of Pirri.

"It's a good feeling,"���������Strome said. "Hopefully, things keep going like that. It was a very hard-fought one point. We can draw from a lot of positives tonight."

A day after recalling forwards Brickley and Logan Shaw from Portland of the AHL���������and sending down Rocco Grimaldi and Garrett Wilson, the Panthers shuffled their top two lines by putting Pirri with Jagr and Barkov.

The move paid off when Pirri opened the scoring at 8:38 of the first period. Pirri skated into the Islanders zone before circling while the Panthers were going through a line change. He then skated to the top of the right circle before firing a wrist shot that went off Grabovski's stick and floated over Halak's left shoulder.

"We won, so we're good,"���������Pirri said of his new line. "For me, it was real easy to play with those guys. They communicate so well and their hockey IQ���������is so good, it'd be hard to screw that up."

Jokinen made it 2-0 at 4:42 of the second period right off a faceoff in the Islanders zone. Trocheck pushed the puck forward and tried to slide a pass across the crease to Jokinen, but it was stopped by an Islanders defender. Trocheck grabbed the puck again, and while falling to the ice, he passed it around the net to Jokinen, who redirected it into the open net.

Okposo had a point streak end at six games.

The Islanders conclude a two-game road trip Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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