Mere minutes after announcing the trade that sent David Booth and Steve Reinprecht to the Vancouver Canucks. The Panthers stepped out onto their home ice to face the New York Islanders for the second time this season. New Panthers players Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm will join the team Monday, in Montreal, for the game against the Canadiens.
At puck drop: Islanders (3-2-0; 6pts) vs. Panthers (3-3-0; 6pts)
Starting goaltenders: Evgeni Nabokov vs. Jose Theodore
The Islanders opened up the scoring at 1:01 of the 1st period. A hooking penalty against Scottie Upshall, gave the Islanders’ power play a chance. Mark Streit took advantage of this chance with a shot from the point. 1-0 Islanders, Strait from Parenteau and Tavares.
Shortly thereafter, Tomas Kopecky broke out and attempted to tie the game, before being interfered with resulting in a penalty shot. However, Kopecky’s move on Nabokov didn’t get the job done.
The Panthers would get on the board at the 14:39 mark of the first period, Kris Versteeg scored over a sprawled out Nabokov. Tying the game at one, it was Versteeg’s fourth goal on the season; eight points total. Stephen Weiss picked up his fourth assist on the play. At 17:01, Isles’ Matt Martin and Panther Matt Bradley received 5 minutes each for fighting. Both players fell to the ice after freeing their left hands and unleashing them. The Panthers ended the first period out-shooting the Islanders 13-5.
Starting the second period, the Panthers failed to score on a tripping penalty on Josh Bailey at 2:18 of the second period. Matt Bradley gave the Panthers the lead at 13:39, an even strength backhander, assisted by Shawn Matthias and Mike Weaver.
Just afterword, Jack Skille, found himself in the penalty box for tripping at 14:32. Just 5 seconds into that power play, John Tavares scored on a redirection of a Streit point shot. Both Islanders goals on the power play, Jose Theodore only faced 10 shots through the first two periods. 2-2 going into the third.
Early in the third period, what looked to be Versteeg’s second of the night; was reviewed and determined to have hit the right post and stayed out of the net. Not long afterwords, Jacob Markstrom came in to replace Jose Theodore. Not long after that, at the 4:00 mark, Tim Kennedy scored, Matthias’ second assist of the night and season. Dimitry Kulikov picked up his third assist on the season on that play as well. The Panthers now led 3-2 with Markstrom in net.
At 8:01 of the third, Marcel Goc was called for hooking. This would be the third power play for the Islanders on the night, scoring twice on their two previous attempts. Mark Streit struck the crossbar, but the score remained, 3-2. Michael Grabner had a spectacular chance for the equalizer on a breakaway, but was robbed by Markstrom.
Versteeg was not happy about receiving a holding penalty at 16:13 of the third, just 3:47 remaining in the game. The Panthers penalty kill held on tight to the slim lead until Shawn Matthias stripped Kyle Okposo of the puck and was sent to the box for slashing. With 2:30 remaining the Islanders called their time out, as they now have the oppurtunity to tie the game on the 5 on 3 power play.
Markstrom stoned John Tavares on multiple attempts until the Versteeg penalty expired. The Isles still had a 5 on 4 advantage, but with not much time left, they pulled Nabokov for the extra attacker. The penalty kill, which struggled in the early stages of the game, came through. They gained possession at the perfect time to feed Shawn Matthias, who was coming out of the penalty box, with the puck. Matthias nailed the empty net, and the Panthers secured the 4 to 2 victory to improve to 4-3-0 at this early point in the season.
Three Stars (presented by the South Florida Media)
3. Tim Kennedy- With the game winning goal
2. Shawn Matthias- Two assists and an empty net goal.
1. Jacob Markstrom- The win, in an outstanding relief appearance, stopping all 18 shots faced.
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Topics: David Booth, Dmitry Kulikov, Empty Net, Evgeni Nabokov, Florida Panthers, Jack Skille, Jacob Markstrom, John Tavares, Jose Theodore, Josh Bailey, Kris Versteeg, Kyle Okposo, Marcel Goc, Mark Streit, Matt Bradley, Michael Grabner, New York Islanders, Panthers Trade David Booth, Penalty Kill, Power Play, Scottie Upshall, Shawn Matthias, Stephen Weiss, Steven Reinprecht, Tim Kennedy, Tomas Kopecky