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5 Takeaways: Panthers Gain Another Point in Shootout Loss to Islanders

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

10/12/19 Post Game Interviews

10/12/19 Post Game Interviews

Interviews with Joel Quenneville, forward Aleksander Barkov and goaltender Sam Montembeault

  • 01:20 •

The Florida Panthers clawed back, but once again feel like they left a point on the table.

After picking up a hard-fought point in Buffalo on Friday to kick off their current three-game road trip, the Panthers came up just short in the skills competition for the second straight night, falling 3-2 in a shootout to the New York Islanders on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.

Just as it was against the Sabres, Florida dominated the third period to force the extra frame, both outshooting (14-5) and outscoring (1-0) New York over the final 20 minutes of regulation.

"The third period, again, we battled back," Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. "We've got to learn to play the way we played in the third period. How we battled back, that needs to be our 60-minute game."

Unveiling a few new-look lines to start the game, Denis Malgin, who moved up from the third to second line, broke the ice against the Islanders, connecting on a one-timer to give the Panthers an early 1-0 lead at 5:34 of the first period - an advantage they carried into the first intermission.

In the second period, the Islanders answered back. Anders Lee tied the game at 5:40, receiving a pass from behind the net and scoring on a bar-down wrist shot from the slot to even things up at 1-1. At 17:31, Josh Bailey roofed a shot on an odd-man rush to put New York on top at 2-1.

At 13:58 of the third period, Evgenii Dadonov scored to make it 2-2 to get the game to overtime.

Following a heart-stopping, but scoreless extra frame the game went to a shootout, where Brock Nelson was the only man to score a goal for either team, securing the 3-2 final for the Islanders.

In net, rookie Sam Montembeault made his first start and second appearance of the season for the Panthers, stopping 26 of 28 shots. For New York, Semyon Varlamov turned aside 35 shots.

"He looked great," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said of Montembeault. "He handles the puck well. He has a lot of confidence in the net. He sees plays around the net, anticipates well. He was good."

The Panthers currently sit at 1-2-2 on the season.

Here are five takeaways from Saturday's loss on Long Island…

1. I MAKE MALGIN MOVES

Malgin made a little magic happen after moving up a line tonight.

Promoted from the third to the second line prior to puck drop, the 22-year-old center helped get the scoring started early on Long Island, collecting a smooth set-up pass from Dadonov and blasting home a one-timer from the right circle to put Florida up 1-0 at 5:34 of the first period. 

Video: FLA@NYI: Dadonov, Malgin team up to open the scoring

"It's always nice to score," Malgin said. "It's a great thing, but now we just have to keep going and not stop… It's always nice to score first for the team. Now we just have to try to get going."

In the midst of his fourth season with the Panthers, Malgin has now tallied two points (one goal, one assist) through three games. A fourth-round pick (102nd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, he recorded seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 50 games during the 2018-19 campaign.

Malgin's goal tonight was also Florida's first in the opening period this season.

2. DADONOV'S STREAKS

With the primary assist on Malgin's goal, Dadonov's point streak reached three games.

Moving around a bit throughout the lineup over the last few games, the 30-year-old winger has been producing steadily on offense no matter where he's been deployed. Starting the week with a goal against Carolina on Tuesday, Dadonov potted a goal an and assist on Friday in Buffalo.

Not done there, Dadonov would also go on to extend another streak later in the game.

Trailing 2-1 late in the third period, Dadonov took a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau and sent a fiery wrist shot upstairs to beat Varlamov and tie the game 2-2 with 6:02 remaining in regulation. 

Video: FLA@NYI: Dadonov snipes it past Varlamov to tie game

With the goal, he has now also lit the lamp in three straight games.

In 2018-19, Dadonov produced 28 goals and 42 assists for a career-best 70 points.

3. THROUGH THE LEGS

Huberdeau has been making it look easy out there.

The premier assist-man on the Panthers, his feed to set up Dadonov's game-tying goal was one of the prettiest dishes that we've seen so far this season. Flying into the zone on a 2-on-2 break, he made a drop pass through his legs to give Dadonov enough time and space to get a shot off.

After setting a franchise record with 62 assists in 2018-19, the 26-year-old winger leads Florida with five assists through five games this season, which also ranks tied for 12th-most in the NHL.

In the world of fun facts, tonight's game also marked a milestone for Huberdeau. Taking the ice for his 472nd career NHL game in New York, the former third-overall pick moved past Jay Bouwmeester to claim 9th place on the all-time games played list in Panthers history.

4. MONTY GETS THE NOD

Making his first start of the season, Montembeault said he "felt pretty good."

"I settled down in the second [period]," he said. "I think it went well overall."

Finishing the night with 26 saves, the 22-year-old did some of his best work while under duress. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, he stopped 7-of-8 shots that came from high-danger areas.

Video: FLA@NYI: Montembeault shuts his pads to deny Nelson

In the shootout, Nelson was the only one of New York's three shooters to beat Montembeault.

"He gave us a chance to win," Barkov said of the young goalie. "He was really good when we needed him. That's all we need, a chance to win the game. That's what our goalies have been doing for us."

Making a relief appearance on Tuesday against the Hurricanes, Montembeault made 19 saves on 20 shots over the final 40 minutes of regulation. Add that to his total tonight, and he's made 45 saves on 48 shots for a .938 save percentage through his first two appearances this season.

"It was a good to get a few shots there against Carolina," said Montembeault, who made his NHL debut and appeared in 11 games with the Panthers in 2018-19. "I'm happy for my first start. It's obviously not the result that we wanted, but I think we played very well in the third."

5. END OF THE ROAD

Florida will look to extend its point streak to three games when it wraps up a three-game road trip with a matinee matchup against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Monday afternoon.

In need of a big two points, Quenneville said he wants to see his team "get simpler."

"When I say simpler it means move the puck ahead, keep it, support it and put it in good areas," he said. "That's going to make it a lot easier."

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