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Panthers, Islanders seek rebound after losses

by Brian Compton

PANTHERS (22-31-7) at ISLANDERS (23-31-8)


Last 10: Florida 2-8-0; New York 2-7-1

Season series: This is the second of three games between the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders. The Panthers beat New York 4-2 on Jan. 14 at BB&T Center.

Big story: New York will play without defenseman Travis Hamonic, who received a one-game suspension after instigating a fight during the final five minutes of a 6-1 loss against the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday. Islanders coach Jack Capuano was also fined $10,000.

Hamonic was assessed a minor penalty for instigation, a major penalty for fighting and a game misconduct at 15:23 of the third period. Both the suspension to the player and the fine of the coach are automatic for a violation of Rule 46.22.

Team Scope:

Panthers: Florida allowed two goals in each period en route to a 6-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday. The Panthers allowed Columbus to score on its first three power plays, which ultimately led to Florida's fourth straight loss.

"Special teams stink," interim coach Peter Horachek said. "Those guys aren't taking responsibility for the penalty-killing. It was not very good.

"There's got to be more desperate play. There's got to be some approach to the game that has more fortitude to it. We were relaxed, sloppy."

Islanders: After an overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, the Islanders were thoroughly outplayed by the Devils. Kyle Okposo had the lone goal for New York, but goalie Evgeni Nabokov allowed five goals on 19 shots and was pulled after the second period.

New Jersey scored on three of its first four power-play chances.

"[The loss] wasn't anything other than the penalty kill," Nabokov told the Islanders website. "The goaltender is a part of it and it wasn't good enough."

Rookie Anders Nilsson, who stopped 15 of 16 shots in the third period Saturday, is likely to get the start against Florida.

Who's hot: Panthers center Nick Bjugstad has a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists) and left wing Sean Bergenheim has a goal and two assists in his past two games. … Okposo has a goal and an assist in the past three games for New York.

Injury report: Florida is expected to be without forwards Tomas Kopecky (upper body) and Aleksander Barkov (knee). … Islanders captain John Tavares is out for the season with a knee injury. Forwards Frans Nielsen (broken hand) and Matt Martin (lower body) are day-to-day.

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