Following two convincing victories against the offensively potent Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers, the Florida Panthers welcomed the red-hot New York Islanders, searching for their third consecutive win.
The game featured a competitive goaltending matchup with veterans Roberto Luongo and Robin Lehner in between the pipes for their respective squads. Before the puck-drop, the Florida Panthers honored the late Bill Torrey via a PA announcement and video tribute.
The first period commenced with the Islanders taking charge offensively. The Isles fired 7 shots on goal in the game’s first six minutes of play, but the scorching hot Roberto Luongo denied every single shot attempt.
Following a barrage of miraculous scoring chances from the NYI, the Florida Panthers unexpectedly struck first blood.
However, the Isles quickly erased the one-goal lead held by the Cats, with Matt Barzal potting home a goal on a breakaway opportunity against Luongo (1-1).
The speed of Barzal, along with a defensive breakdown by the Panthers, helped manufacture the tremendous backhand goal by the former Calder Trophy award winner.
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The Isles instantly regained momentum, controlling the game following Barzal’s equalizer. The Isles’ effort was rewarded with two power-play opportunities, but the FLA penalty-kill unit stood strong, successfully killing off both penalties.
With three minutes remaining in the first period, the Cats were finally given a PP chance but could not capitalize, unfortunately. The 1st-period buzzer sounded with both teams knotted at one apiece.
The second period of play began with both teams exchanging penalties. Both sides successfully killed off the penalties but struggled to generate chances offensively.
However, with the Isles continually dominating the board battle versus the Cats, their tireless efforts were rewarded. Brock Nelson provided the New York Islanders with their first lead of the game, sniping home a wrister past Bobby Lu (2-1 NYI).
The Panthers began attacking and asserting immense pressure in the offensive zone, but Robin Lehner continued playing like a brick wall.
The Cats were even gifted yet another power-play opportunity but failed to score, once again. Both teams were consistently applying pressure and mustering up an abundance of shots on goal.
Florida would eventually tie the game, courtesy of Mike Hoffman’s 7th goal of the season (2-2). With under a minute remaining in the second period, Hoffman attempted a pass behind Lehner’s net, but the puck unsuspectedly deflected off of an Islander defender and into Lehner’s goal.
Mike Hoffman, the goal-scorer, extended his point streak to 11 games, while Evgeni Dadonov, who was credited with the assist, extended his point streak to an impressive 10 games. The second period concluded with both sides tied at two goals apiece.
The third period of play was evidently Florida’s best played period of the night. The Cats regained the lead nearly five minutes in, with captain Aleksander Barkov registering a power-play goal (3-2 FLA).
The Cats essentially dominated the Isles, as the NYI solely recorded one shot-on-goal in the first eight minutes of the third period.
The Isles would generate some offensive chances, but Florida’s defense and Luongo collectively prevented the Isles from capitalizing and breaking even.
Roberto Luongo would save every single shot thrown his direction in the final period of play. With the extra attacker on for the New York Islanders in the closing minutes of the third, Roberto Luongo made a sensational pad save, stunning the Isles with his tremendous goaltending.
Troy Brouwer would tack on an empty-net goal with 0.3 seconds left in the game, sealing the deal on another exceptional comeback victory for the resurgent Panthers (4-2 FLA).
The Florida Panthers extended their winning streak to a season-high three games, defeating the Islanders by a two-goal margin on home ice.
Roberto Luongo picked up win number three on the season, taking down the franchise which drafted him as a teenager in the 90’s.