The woes continue for the Florida Panthers as they were blown out of the water for the second consecutive night, this time to a team just as equally out of the playoff race – and the team who owns the worst home record.
Quinton Howden started the game off with a bang for the Panthers, as he opened the scoring with his fourth of the season – a shorthanded goal. Jonathan Racine, who was making his NHL debut, took an interference penalty just 42-seconds into the game after rolling over Cal Clutterbeck before he had the puck.
From there it went the way of the New York Islanders, who scored four unanswered goals on the way to their victory. A power play goal by Travis Hamonic just 45-seconds after Howden’s goal tied the game, and they never let up.
Despite a good start in the second period by the Panthers, the Islanders eventually took over and took a 3-1 lead going into the second intermission. Josh Bailey and Matt Martin scored for the Islanders, capitalizing on more Panthers turnovers and leaky defense. One goal saw center Scott Gomez skate right past the front of the net to behind the goal, only to see Bailey position himself right where Gomez was, and score.
Brandon Pirri scored the team’s first power play goal in eight games, his 11th of the season with 3.9 seconds left in the game, but by then it was all relative.
That was the Panthers last game on the road of the season. They will play the Calgary Flames on Friday to kick off a season ending, five game home stand. Goaltender Roberto Luongo is expected to make his return sometime during the stand.
Injuries played a major factor in the game, but wasn’t a deciding factor. Brad Boyes and Scottie Upshall went into the game as question marks, and while they both ended up playing – both left the game in the first with injuries. Upshall returned, Boyes did not.
Playing on back-to-back nights and then playing with a short bench for the majority of the game – Florida never really had any of a chance to pitch a comeback at the end of the game. Being outshot 28-13 in the first two periods, Florida never really put themselves in any position to win at all.