The NY Islanders are looking to bounce back in the second game of a back-to-back game against the Florida Panthers after losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night 5-3.
The Islanders fell last night to the Lightning in another game that exposed the Islanders and their lack of speed around the roster. It wasn't a bad game necessarily all around, but they had a hard time climbing back into the game when they would give up a lead. A backbreaking goal by Nick Paul at the buzzer in the second period also sent the Islanders to the locker room on a bad note. If there was one positive from this game, the Islanders definitely weren't as afraid to shoot the puck as much as they were against the New Jersey Devils. Matt Martin scored the first goal for the Islanders on a great shot beating Brian Elliott from the slot, who faced 35 Islanders shots all night. Anthony Beauvillier and Ryan Pulock would also hit the net for the Isles, but in the end, could not pull out a win. Ilya Sorokin ended the night with 21 saves on 26 shots, so it was not his best night either.
The Panthers' last game also came against their interstate rivals, losing in overtime 3-2. Brayden Point would score twice for the Lightning, including the overtime winner. Matthew Tkachuk, who scored the empty netter in the Islanders' home opener, scored for the Panthers along with Rudolph Balcers. Brandon Montour assisted on both Florida goals, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves on 32 shots in the overtime loss. Florida failed to score on any of their five power play opportunities against Tampa Bay.
The Islanders' recent history with the Panthers is very similar to their recent history with the Lightning. They have lost the last four games against Florida, most recently their home opener at UBS Arena 3-1. Last season, the Panthers shelled the Islanders twice by scores of 5-1 and 6-1 respectively and then lost in overtime 3-2 at home near the end of the regular season. All together the Islanders have only scored five goals in their last four meetings with Florida, those coming from Kyle Palmieri, Oliver Wahlstrom, Noah Dobson, J.G Pageau, and Sebastian Aho. Dobson has a goal and two assists all together in this collection of games against the Panthers.
Just like with the Lightning, the Islanders have recent playoff history as well with Florida. They were able to triumph against them in the play-in series in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, albeit with that round being a best-of-five series, but a win is a win. They won that series 3-1. They also won their first playoff series after a 23-year-long drought back in 2016 when John Tavares scored two goals including the winner in double overtime to send the Isles to the second round.
Players to Watch
Matthew Tkachuk has been a force to start this season. Tkachuk has three goals and eight points in the team's first five games this season, certainly proving he was worthy of the king's ransom the Panthers gave up for him in a deal that sent Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar to the Calgary Flames. Tkachuk obviously also has quite an abrasive side, which was shown in their game against Tampa Bay when he hit Nikita Kucherov along the boards and continued to shove him while he was on the ice, perhaps trying to let the Lightning know that he (and the Panthers) will not be pushed around.
Anders Lee has been very solid as usual for the Islanders during the start of this season. The captain has two goals and three assists so far in this campaign and had four shots on goal against the Lightning. His season-high in shots in a game came against the San Jose Sharks when he had six, and converted on one of them. According to Statmuse.com, Lee has five goals and nine points in his career against the Panthers. Look for him to try and spark the Islanders tonight to try and break their two game losing skid.
Zach Parise-Mat Barzal-Kyle Palmieri
Anders Lee-Brock Nelson-Anthony Beauvillier
Nikita Soshnikov- J.G. Pageau- Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech-Ryan Pulock
Alexander Romanov-Noah Dobson
Sebastian Aho-Scott Mayfield
Extras: Ross Johnston, Keiffer Bellows, Josh Bailey
Carter Verhaeghe-Aleksander Barkov-Sam Reinhart
Rudolph Balcers-Sam Bennett-Matthew Tkachuk
Eetu Loustarinen-Anton Lundell-Colin White
Ryan Lomberg-Nick Cousins-Patric Hornqvist
Gustav Forsling-Brandon Montour
Josh Mahura-Radko Gudas
Matt Kiersted-Mark Staal
IR: Anthony Duclair, Aaron Ekblad