NEW YORK (CBSMiami/AP) — The Florida Panthers continued their recent success against one of the hottest teams in the NHL, the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Reilly Smith, Aleksander Barkov and Aaron Ekblad all scored in the second period to lead the Panthers to a 5-1 victory over the Islanders at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Vincent Trochek and Jonathan Huberdeau added goals in the third period, and Roberto Luongo finished with 33 saves for the Panthers. Florida beat New York for the second time this season, along with a shootout win at home on Nov. 23.
Brock Nelson had his 10th goal of the season for the Islanders, who snapped a five game home winning streak and a 10-game stretch overall without a loss in regulation (8-0-2). Jaroslav Halak had 12 saves.
After the Islanders outshot the Panthers 19-2 in a scoreless first, Smith opened the scoring at 1:51 of the second with a slap shot from the right circle for his ninth goal of the season.
Barkov made it 2-0 for the Panthers with his seventh of the season, an unassisted goal, at 7:25 of the second.
Nelson pulled the Islanders to 2-1 with 7:23 remaining in the period when his shot dribbled past Luongo.
However, Ekblad scored 20 seconds later to restore the two-goal lead. The goal was the defenseman’s seventh.
Trocheck extended the lead to 4-1 at 1:23 of the third period with his ninth of the season.
Huberdeau was awarded an empty-net short-handed goal with 3:43 left when he was pulled down as he tried to score, his fourth this season.
Luongo improved to 11-11-3 this season. The 36-year-old former Islander, who leads active goaltenders with 412 wins and 888 games played, wasn’t especially tested except for glove saves on Kyle Okposo in the first and John Tavares in the second.
Playing without their leading scorer — 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr (flu) — the Panthers kept steady pressure on the Islanders even though were outshot by a wide margin.’
Florida recalled Rocco Grimaldi from AHL Portland for the game. The Panthers also dressed rarely used right wing Logan Shaw and center Corban Knight, who made his Panthers debut.
Halak had been 4-0-2 in his last six games. He lost for the first time since Nov. 12 at Los Angeles, when the Kings won 2-1.
The Islanders did smother three Panther power plays, extending their streak to 24 straight penalty kills.
The Panthers have won the last four meetings against the Islanders – including twice in shootouts — but New York is still 6-4-2 in their last 12 games against Florida.
Islanders forward Ryan Strome returned after missing Sunday’s win over New Jersey with an upper body injury.
NOTES: Jagr has nine goals and 12 assists for the Panthers. He is tied with Marcel Dionne with 731 career goals, fourth on the all-time list. … The Panthers scratched C Derek MacKenzie with a knee injury. … The Islanders scratched Fs Steve Bernier and Eric Boulton plus D Brian Strait. … The Islanders and Panthers meet once more this season, on March 14 in Brooklyn.
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