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The Panthers’ offense has gone cold.
For the second game in a row, the Panthers — who entered this week with the fourth-highest scoring offense in the NHL — were held to just one goal.
On Thursday night at the BB&T Center, it was the New York Islanders who shut down the Panthers 3-1.
Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had 27 saves as Florida lost its second consecutive game and fell to 3-3-0 during this nine-game homestand, which is the longest in franchise history.
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“It’s unfortunate we lost the game. It’s the NHL — it’s not easy to win,” said Bobrovsky, who has allowed just six goals in his past four games. “But we have a great group of guys, very
Mike Hoffman scored Florida’s lone goal, his 12th of the season.
Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss stopped everything else — 32 shots in all — as the Islanders improved to 19-0-1 this season when scoring at least three goals.
Perhaps Thursday’s result should come as no surprise. The Islanders are a very good team with elite goaltending.
Since the start of last season, only the Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues have earned more wins than the Islanders.
And, entering Thursday, the Islanders’ goals-against average of 2.38 ranked third in the NHL.
Devon Toews and Mathew Barzal scored power-play goals for the Islanders, and Anders Lee added an empty-netter with three seconds left. Jordan Eberle added two assists, his first such game since Oct. 11.
New York went 2 for 4 on its power play. The Panthers went 0 for 3, and their failure with the man advantage midway through the third period helped seal their fate.
Greiss, who robbed Brett Connolly with 3:55 left in the third, broke his personal two-game losing streak and also beat the Panthers for the second time this season. He beat them 2-1 on Nov. 9.
New York opened the scoring on a power-play goal with just 49 seconds elapsed in the second period.
The power play started at the end of the first, when Florida’s Frank Vatrano was called for tripping Toews. Then, thanks to an effective Lee screen, Toews’ long shot from the point made it past Bobrovsky. Eberle earned the assist for his set-up pass.
Florida got in trouble with another penalty — this time Panthers center Vincent Trocheck caught holding Anthony Beauvillier — and New York’s power play converted again.
Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar tried to pass the puck out of his own zone, but Eberle intercepted and fed to Barzal, who scored on the open left side of the net with 4:49 expired in the second.
Weegar, meanwhile, cracked his stick on top of the Panthers crossbar in disgust.
Florida cut its deficit to 2-1 with 9:36 gone in the second. Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk, playing his first game since Dec. 3 after picking up several healthy scratches, jumped up to create a two-on-one opportunity. Pysyk then passed to Hoffman, who fired a high shot from the left circle, beating Greiss stick-side.
But the power play came up empty, and the Panthers couldn’t crack New York’s air-tight defense.
“That’s what they do — they try to frustrate you,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said.
“They check you. They outwork you. We didn’t play anywhere near as hard as we had to play to be successful.”
Photo gallery: Islanders at Panthers | Thursday, December 12, 2019
Florida Panthers center Brian Boyle (9) fights with New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) during the second period of an NHL regular season hockey game at the BB&T Center on Thursday, December 12, 2019 in Sunrise. DAVID SANTIAGO [email protected]
Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) and Aaron Ekblad (5) battle for a puck against New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) during the third period of an NHL regular season hockey game at the BB&T Center on Thursday, December 12, 2019 in Sunrise. DAVID SANTIAGO [email protected]