NEW YORK (CBSMiami/AP) — The Florida Panthers still control their own destiny in the Eastern Conference playoff race.READ MORE: Suspected Shoplifter Shot By Police After Pulling Weapon At The Falls Shopping Center In SW Miami-Dade
Evgenii Dadonov had a goal and an assist, and James Reimer stopped 32 shots for his fourth shutout of the season as the Panthers moved closer to a playoff spot with a 3-0 victory over the reeling New York Islanders on Monday night.
Keith Yandle also had a goal and assist, and Nick Bjugstad scored to help Florida win for the 13th time in 17 games (13-3-1).
The Panthers moved within point of idle New Jersey for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
Florida has eight games remaining, one more than the Devils.
Reimer, who has 21 career shutouts, won his fifth straight start with his second shutout during that stretch. The 30-year-old goalie improved to 7-1-0 since returning from an injury Feb. 12.
Christopher Gibson finished with 38 saves for the Islanders, who were eliminated from postseason contention for the second straight year with their 14th loss in 16 games (2-10-4).
Leading 1-0 after one period, Florida pulled away with two goals in the second while outshooting New York 19-11.
After Islanders rookie Mathew Barzal was given a double-minor for high-sticking Vincent Trochek 1:24 into the middle period, Florida took advantage just 23 seconds later. Bjugstad got a pass from Jamie McGinn, skated into the right circle and fired the puck past Gibson for his 18th goal.READ MORE: CDC's New Mask Mandate Encourages People To Get COVID Vaccinations
Dadonov made it 3-0 at 6:09 as he sent a pass from the left side boards toward the net for a streaking Bjugstad, but the puck deflected off the skate of Islanders defenseman Brandon Davidson and past Gibson. It was Dadonov’s 24th goal of the season, and ninth goal and 21st point in his last 17 games.
The Panthers outshot the Islanders 16-10 in the first period, with both teams getting solid chances.
Gibson denied Derek MacKenzie in front 3 1/2 minutes in, and then stopped MacKenzie Weeger’s shot from the left circle and Maxim Mamim’s follow attempt on the rebound in front a little more than two minutes later.
The Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck hit a post 2 1/2 minutes in. Reimer also turned away Andrew Ladd’s tip attempt in front 4 1/2 minutes in, Anders Lee’s backhand two minutes later, and two tries in close by John Tavares shortly after that.
Yandle got the Panthers on the scoreboard with 8:22 left in the opening period as he took a pass from Dadonov and sent a long wrist shot from between the circles in front of the blue line past Gibson’s glove side for his eighth.
NOTES: Aleksander Barkov had an assist on Yandle’s goal, giving him 15 assists and 21 points in his last 17 games. He is one away from becoming the first Panthers player with 50 assists since Olli Jokinen had 52 in 2006-07. … The Panthers improved to 10-3-1 this month, tying the franchise record for wins and points (21) in March set in 2006. Florida has three more games remaining this month. … Florida is 20-6-1 in its last 27 games. …. The Panthers improved to 26-1-0 when leading after two periods. … Tavares snapped a five-game point streak in which he had two goals and seven assists. … Islanders forward Casey Cizikas was scratched. Chris Wagner played in his place.
Panthers: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.
Islanders: At the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.MORE NEWS: 'There's More Aggression, More Confrontational Attitude': Miami Beach Police Chief On Increasing Safety, Security
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