The NY Islanders return home after a five game road trip to host the Florida Panthers at UBS Arena.
Looking to end the road trip on a high note, The Islanders headed to Madison Square Garden for one final matchup against the New York Rangers in 2022-23. The Isles had already taken the first two meetings of the season from the Blueshirts and with the same intentions on Thursday, grabbed the lead three separate times. After goals from Anders Lee, Mat Barzal, and Alexander Romanov had the Isles up 3-2 entering the third period, the Rangers stormed back to score three unanswered in the third to win 5-3. Fresh off his shutout in Colorado earlier in the week, Ilya Sorokin struggled in net by allowing four goals on 33 shots.
The 2022-23 season has not been kind to the defending Presidents Trophy winners as they dropped their second straight contest on Wednesday in a home duel with the New Jersey Devils. Just as the Isles did, Florida entered the final frame working with a one goal lead, as goals from Eric Staal and Eetu Luostarinen had the Panthers up 2-1. In the third, though, the Cats fell apart in similar fashion, surrendering three straight goals, leading to a 4-2 Devils victory. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 32 shots faced in the defeat.
This will be the third and final meeting this season between the Isles and Panthers and the second at UBS Arena. The first came way back on opening night when Florida picked up a 3-1 win to start the year. The two squads would meet again, just a couple weeks later, down in the Sunshine State and it was the Panthers getting another win, this time beating New York 3-2.
All-time, the Islanders are 43-49-8-7 against the Panthers in the regular season. These teams have met twice in a playoff/qualifying series, with the Isles winners of both (2016 First Round, 2020 Qualifying Round).
Players to Watch
The last time the Islanders played the Panthers, captain Anders Lee carried the Isles’ offense, netting both goals in a losing effort. After notching three points in the last four games (two goals, one assist), Lee will be looking to stay hot and continue to make an offensive impact for New York.
Eetu Luostarinen has enjoyed playing against the Islanders in 2022-23. In the first two meetings, he recorded three points against New York. With all the star power that Florida brings to the table, the 24 year old can sometimes be someone who is forgotten about and it’ll be very important for the Islanders to remember what he did to them earlier in the season.