Struggling heavily over the last few games, the Florida Panthers were heading into Brooklyn looking to snap their three-game losing skid.
The Panthers started the game off strong, applying loads of pressure down deep in the Islanders zone. Because of it, scoring chances were being created, which forced Halak to remain steady on his feet. No matter how many shots the Panthers were firing, Halak was there to deny them all.
Eight minutes into the opening period and the Panthers struck first. Mark Pysyk sent a pass from across the blue line to Michael Matheson, where Matheson quickly received it and let one rip top-shelf:
Matheson’s goal went in so quickly that the referees needed to go upstairs to review the play. After reviewing the play, the refs immediately saw that the puck did enter the net. Needless to say, the review on the play was short, signaling a good goal.
Both teams exchanged chances at both ends of the rink throughout the rest of the period, but it was the net minders’ who kept the score line locked at 1-0. The two sides would head into the locker room shortly after, with Florida escaping with the lead.
The Islanders took it to the Panthers early in the second, buzzing around their zone. The Panthers were struggling to get the puck out on many occasions, but had Harri to fall back on. The Isles were throwing everything at Harri, but it wasn’t enough.
No matter how much momentum and scoring chances the Isles created, it was the Cats who would double their lead. With six and a half minutes remaining in the second, Evgeni Dadonov drove past Mayfield behind the net, wrapping the puck around and banking it off the back of Halak’s skate:
The Cats were completely dominated against early in the second, but took play to the Islanders’ later in the frame. Dadonov’s late goal would send the Panthers into the dressing room up by two goals after two periods of play.
The third period started off the same as the second, where the Isles were pressing the Panthers to the brink. New York were keen to cut the Panthers lead in half, but ultimately failed. It was Florida who would triple their lead, putting the sword to the Isles’ throats early in the third.
Keith Yandle would snipe a shot from the blue line, which would blaze past Halak’s glove and in (3-0 Panthers):
Moments after Yandle’s goal, Adam Pelech would put his side on the scoreboard, cutting the Cats lead down to two. Pelech would receive a cross-crease pass from Bailey, then immediately ripping a shot top-shelf.
Although, as the period progressed, the Panthers started to settle down and become more comfortable in their play. Pucks were getting out of the zone quicker, while turnovers were minimized for the most part. Harri Sateri was great reassurance at the back, providing some much-needed stable goaltending for the Cats, which allowed them to close out the game.
In the closing two minutes of the final frame, Jonathan Huberdeau added an empty net goal to seal victory for his side. Vinnie Trocheck stripped Sebastian Aho of the puck at the blue line, then quickly stringing Huberdeau of a pass towards the empty net. Johnny was left to slide the puck into the empty net, giving the Florida Panthers a 4-1 win.
In closing, the Florida Panthers entered this game with minimal confidence, but managed to pull through and fight until the end. Your Panthers are back in action on Thursday, February 1st @7:00pm against the Buffalo Sabres!