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Panthers Wrap-Up: Islanders 5, Panthers 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 1 0 0 2
Islanders 3 2 0 0 5
FLA - PP - D. Kulikov (3), M. Goc (6)
NYI - M. Moulson (14), PP - M. Streit (6), PP - M. Grabner (14), R. Martinek (3), M. Grabner (15)

UNIONDALE, NY —  (AP) - Michael Grabner scored twice and Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves as the New York Islanders moved closer to a playoff berth with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Playing before a boisterous crowd at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders earned their ninth time in 12 games while playing their final regular-season home game. The Islanders, 10-11-3 at home after starting 2-8-1, will begin a season-ending, five-game trip on Thursday in Toronto..

"There was a playoff-feel about it, at least on their side. If you aren't believing it, what's going to happen is what happened. Every game we play right now is going to be against a team incredibly hungry for something moving forward."

- Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen.
1. Hitting On The Power Play: The Islanders started out buzzing the Panthers net early as they had a couple of good chances after the drop of the puck but Jacob Markstrom came up with the saves. New York wouldn't be denied long however as they scored on a beautiful redirect by Matt Moulson off Tom Hickey's shot 8:01. The puck actually redirected by Panthers defenseman Tyson Strachan and then Matt Martin before Moulson finally redirected it top shelf. After that it was putting the power play to good use for the teams in the first. The Islanders took a 3-0 advantage, thanks in large part do to a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage with Strachan and Erik Gudbranson (four minute high sticking) in the box. Captain Mark Streit scored with a screen in front on the 5-on-3 and then Michael Grabner scored on a partial breakaway late in the 5-on-4. Florida got a late power play and scored on their second attempt of the night as defenseman Dmitry Kulikov rifled a shot past Evgeni Nabokov.

2. Chasing Markstrom: Florida played better towards the end of the first and had some chances early in the second but it was the Islanders tacking on two more goals within a 14 second span to chase Markstrom from between the pipes. Radek Martinek scored with a shot from the point 3:19 in and then Grabner netted his second of the game off a turnover. For Markstrom, it was one of those nights as the was only able to make 13 saves before exiting in favor of Scott Clemmensen. He didn't have a lot of help as the Islanders came at the Panthers in waves. Clemmensen had to make a save in the opening seconds after coming in, stopping Keith Aucoin off a turnover and turned aside 13 shots the rest of the way.

3. Getting Chippy As Nabokov Stands Tall: With the score the way it was, play certainly got chippy. Florida and New York players traded punches on several different occasions. The line of Marcel Goc, Tomas Kopecky and Tomas Fleischmann were active and got the Panthers to within 5-2 as Kopecky drew Nabokov out of the crease and Goc scored into the wide open net with 7:44 gone in the second. That was all they could muster but it wasn't for a lack of trying. They had several golden chances in the second and especialy in the third. Both Quinton Howden and Brian Campbell hit the posts at two different times of the game and Scottie Upshall, TJ Brennan, Nick Bjugstad and Kopecky all had their chances but were stopped by the Islanders netminder. The goalie was great in stopping 18 shots in the final two periods.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@TanishaEchos: Game over for my @FlaPanthers ....... Disappointed

@turbuLENTZ: Congrats on 750 games in the NHL @bcampbell_51

@apoupartFins: Happy to see #ShawnMatthias wearing an "A" for the #FlaPanthers tonight. Only 25 and has really blossomed this season.

@marrizurieta: Keep your head up @j_markstrom you'll pull through! And @qhowden21 keep on chuggin' you'll get that goal #beauties #FlaPanthers 

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Riley Destin: c'mon!!!

Rosa Ruiz: Come home cats. I still love you guys.

Danny Costa: We always lose....

5. The Euro line of Marcel Goc, Tomas Fleischmann and Tomas Kopecky continued their strong play of late, combining for five of the Panthers six points in the game. Goc recorded a goal and an assist while Fleischmann picked up two assists and Kopecky added an assist.

The Panthers had five power play opportunities on the night and 9:05 of time, scoring once off Dmitry Kulikov's third goal of the season. It was one of eight shots in the contest.

The Islanders used the quick strike to chase Jacob Markstrom, scoring twice in a 14 second span early in the second period off goals by Radek Martinek and Michael Grabner.

Center had a good day in the face-off circle for the Panthers winning 75% of his draws by going 6-of-8 in the circle. That led Florida in players taking more than one draw as the team finished with a 54% winning percentage (34-of-63).

750. Suiting up against the Islanders and playing 26:11, defenseman Brian Campbell played in his 750th career NHL game. He is the 90th active player to record at least that many games.

Michael Grabner
Got behind the Panthers defense on the power play to score the eventual game-winner in the first period while putting the Islanders up 3-0 and then adding their fifth goal to chase Jacob Markstrom.

2 Goals, 1 Assist, 3 Points, +2, 2 Shots, 14:45 TOI
Florida moves down the road on their second game of the four-game road trip when they play in New York City at Madison Square Garden and the New York Rangers. It will be another tough match-up as the Rangers are battling for their playoff lives. Currently the eighth seed and trying to fend off the Winnipeg Jets. New York fell 4-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night. They are led offensively by Rick Nash (35 points in 38 games) and Derek Stepan (35 points in 42 games) while Henrik Lundqvist owns a 19-14-3 record with a 2.06 goals against average in 36 games between the pipes. 

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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