The Upshot: The NY Islanders Keep Hope Alive with Win Against Panthers

New York Islanders v Florida Panthers
New York Islanders v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages
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HOW IT HAPPENED

The NY Islanders are keeping their playoff hopes alive after a 3-2 victory against the Florida Panthers, one of the top teams in the league. Ryan Pulock got the Isles on the board first(or so they thought), but the goal was called back due to goaltender interference on Hudson Fasching. Soon after, Pulock scored again but this one counted. The Isles found themselves trailing just before the midway point of the second period when Mat Barzal's 23rd of the season knotted things up. Less than two minutes later, JG Pageau swept a puck into the net amid the chaos in the crease, a play Panthers head coach Paul Maurice challenged, but the goal stood. The Isles closed the door despite being outshot 14-5 in the third period.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Semyon Varlamov got the nod over a struggling Ilya Sorokin, stopping 26 of 29 shots to keep the Islanders' season alive. The Panthers' first goal of the night was off a pass from Vladamir Tarasenko in front of the crease, which Pageau deflected in. Where the team would have been dejected in the past, soon allowing another quick goal, this time they were instead the next team to score.

“I know there’s probably some people out there that wrote this one off when we were down 2-1 there.," said Barzal. "We just battled. That was 60 minutes of pure battle and war.”

Despite playing less than 10 minutes on the night, Kyle MacLean was throwing his body all night, leading the team in hits with four, and seemed to provide a spark for his team.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The power play continues to struggle as the Isles failed to score in six opportunities last night, With under six minutes left in the game, Sam Reinhardt was assessed a double minor for high-sticking Cal Clutterbuck. With a chance to ice the game, the Isles failed to convert, leaving the door open for the Panthers. They managed to shut that door though, even when this game had all the makings of another overtime game.

STATS OF THE GAME

  • Barzal's 23rd goal of the season sets a new career high. his 71 points are 11 shy of his career best in that category with 11 games remaining
  • Mike Reilly played 23:10 last night, second on the team behind only Ryan Pulock
  • Noah Dobson recorded an assist on Barzal's goal, his first point in six games, dating back to March 16 against the Senators
  • Clutterbuck became the first NHLer to record 4,000 hits in a career

SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME

Brendan Burke and Butch Goring met up with number 4, Bobby Orr before puck drop last night.

WHAT"S NEXT

The Islanders continue their Florida road trip, heading across the state to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm.