Another Thriller For the Panthers at Home
With every game a must win for the Panthers, tonight they proved that they are still in the push for the playoffs. It was also a night of firsts for some of the Panthers.
The Panthers played well in front of goalie Jamie McLennan, who recorded his first win of the season, while the Cats tied up the season series with the Islanders by a score of 4-2 in front of a crowd of 16,422 at the BankAtlantic Center.
The game started out strong for the Panthers, with Jay Bouwmeester scoring his first goal of the season 33 seconds into the game on an assist from Jozef Stumpel and Sean Hill. Later on in the period, New York came back to tie the game, but the Panthers did not show defeat.
Nieuwendyk notched his 18th goal of the season off a rebound shot in front of DiPietro that was assisted by Jon Sim and Mike Van Ryn. The Panthers took the lead heading into the third period.
Halfway through the third, New York came back once again to tie up the game. As the game continued, it looked as though it might be another overtime thriller for Florida. Juraj Kolnik thought otherwise and 14:57 into the period, he scored his 10th goal of the season, which turned out to be the game winner, off a pass from Rostislav Olesz.
The Islanders fought hard to tie the game in the last minute and a half in which they pulled DiPietro from the goal. With an aggressive forecheck, Florida was able to take control of the puck and Martin Gelinas sealed the game with an empty netter, giving both Stumpel and Van Ryn, who came back from chipping a tooth earlier in the game, two assists on the night.
When every game counts, Florida showed their talent with nine Panther players each recording a point, and two recording two points. The Panthers look to carry the momentum tomorrow night when they play the Capitals in Washington. The Cats will then head back home to take on interstate rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.