Miami Sports Day

NHL: Panthers Top Islanders in OT for First Season’s Non-Shootout Win

Photo Courtesy of Florida Panthers

NEW YORK — Mike Hoffman scored a power-play goal 33 seconds into overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Wednesday.

“This team was desperate for a win and get rewarded for some of the good things we’ve done. I loved to see the fight when we were down. We didn’t change our game; if anything, we turned it up a notch. That’s a good sign for a coach to see out of his players,” said Panthers coach Bob Boughner.

Forwards Frank Vatrano and Evgenii Dadonov scored in the third period, and James Reimer made 20 saves for the Panthers (2-3-3), who became the last team in the NHL to get a regulation/overtime win.

“It’s almost like a snowball effect,” Hoffman said. “You [have] to start somewhere, you have to have a building block and go from there. Hopefully this can get us on the right track.

“We’ve been playing some good hockey, [we] just haven’t been getting the results that we’ve wanted.”

Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle scored, and Robin Lehner made 38 saves for the Islanders (3-4-1), who blew a 2-0 lead in the third period in their first home game since Oct. 8.

“We haven’t been here that much to start the year,” Eberle said. “I think we play well here; obviously home games, you should have the advantage. But I thought for the most part I liked our game through two [periods]. I know we were getting outshot but we’re a much better team structurally in our D zone. I don’t mind spending time in there just based on the way that we’re playing in there.

“But a 2-0 lead in the third, you don’t want to sit back on your heels. You want to go at them and push. That’s how good teams win games.”

The Panthers started their rally when Vatrano one-timed Nick Bjugstad’s feed from point-blank range for a power-play goal at 2:46 of the third period to make it 2-1.

Dadonov tied it 2-2 at 10:35 when center Aleksander Barkov found him alone in the slot for his fourth goal of the season.

“We talked this morning about how teams react in times of adversity,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. “That’s when your character shines through and I thought tonight was a character win. I really did.”

Each team had a power play in the final five minutes of the third period, which included a delay of game penalty against the Panthers with 2:42 remaining that was negated when Islanders center Mathew Barzal was whistled for interference with 1:25 left. Lehner helped send the game to overtime when he gloved Aaron Ekblad’s wrist shot at 19:46.

But Hoffman won it in overtime when he one-timed Keith Yandle’s feed from the right face-off circle for his fourth of the season. Hoffman has four goals and two assists in a six-game point streak.

“We take a penalty on a power play; that’s an opportunity to win the game, or at least put yourself in position to have the lead with maybe less than a minute,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “We took a penalty and they capitalized at the end.”

Nelson gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 18:36 of the first period. Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck turned the puck over in the slot to Islanders forward Josh Bailey, who fed Nelson for a shot that was redirected wide. But Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson’s clearing attempt went off Trocheck and trickled over the goal line. Play continued for 17 seconds before it was halted for a video review that determined the puck crossed the goal line.

Eberle made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 11:42 of the second period when Barzal fed him in the left face-off circle for a one-timer. It was his first goal since March 20, a span of 17 games.

“We talk about just trying to find a way to come out with a little more energy, get on the attack,” Nelson said. “We just weren’t able to get that extra momentum, that extra push, I guess. It could have been the difference.

 

Need to knowBoughner said goalie Roberto Luongo remains week to week with a knee injury but will make the trip to Finland for the NHL Global Series next week. … It was the 17th time in Panthers history they came back to win in any fashion after trailing by multiple goals in the third period. … The Islanders will wear patches on their uniforms for the remainder of the season to honor co-owner Charles Wang, who died Sunday. There was a video tribute and moment of silence prior to the game.

What’s next” Panthers: At the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (12 p.m. ET; MSG, FS-F, NHL.TV)

 

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