HOW IT HAPPENED
Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored 1:57 in O.T. to give the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on Saturday night. It was the 18th game that has gone into O.T. for the Isles this season and the ninth time they lost in the extra session.
Simon Holmstrom had a goal for the Isles, and Kyle Palmieri scored with 1:29 left to tie the game at 2-2. Sam Reinhart and Mathew Tkachuk each had power-play goals, and Anthony Stolarz made 21 saves for the Panthers, who have won four straight. Semyon Varlamov started his second straight game and finished with 34 saves in the loss.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Trailing 2-1 and facing a third straight regulation loss heading into the All-Star break, head coach Patrick Roy pulled Semyon Varlamov with over two minutes left. After struggling to enter the zone, the Isles finally gained possession, leading to Noah Dobson finding Kyle Palmieri for a one-timer that deflected off Anthony Stolarz's mask and into the net to tie the game. It was the third time in four games under Roy that the Islanders have tied the game in the third.
WHAT WENT WRONG
The Islanders continue to take avoidable penalties, including those in the offensive zone, leading to both Florida power-play goals. Sam Reinhardt scored his 37th of the season and 20th on the power-play to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. After Samuel Bolduc was called for a tripping penalty at 5:12 of the third period, Matthew Tkachuk's deflection of a Aleksander Barkov shot trickled through the pads of Varlamov for a 2-1 lead.
STATS OF THE GAME
Per NHL PR, The Panthers won their eighth consecutive road game – the third-longest road winning streak among all teams this season. Only the Kings (11 GP from Oct. 17 – Dec. 7) and the Oilers (9 GP from Dec. 21 – Jan. 25) have posted as long a streak.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
It was alumni night, and throughout the game, the team celebrated players from each decade of Islanders hockey, culminating in the 2010s and the return of Josh Bailey to UBS Arena for the first time since last season. The crowd gave a loud ovation and then serenaded him with the "Hey, Josh Bailey" song one more time.
For hockey fans, NHL All-Star Weekend in Toronto is up next, with Mathew Barzal the lone Islanders representative. He won't be particpating in the skills competition.
We won't see the Islanders back in action until they play the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Feb 5.