Six years ago, the Florida Panthers started what would end up being the longest winning streak in franchise history with an improbable 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders in the team’s first visit to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Roberto Luongo not only faced 19 shots on goal in the first period against an Islanders team which had gone 8-0-2 in their previous 10 games, but the Panthers were fighting a flu big which cost them Jaromir Jagr in that game.
Still, the Panthers dominated play over the final two periods and pulled out a win.
“We were down a few boys and we weathered the storm in the first,” said Luongo, who made 33 saves and was named the game’s first star.
“We found a way to get it done. It’s my job to make the saves, keep the boys in it. Then we found our legs in the second. That’s part of being a team. Different guys have to step up at different times. Maybe they leaned on me in the first, but they got rewarded later with a strong performance.’’
It was the first of 12 consecutive games the Panthers would win — those 24 points helping lift the team to the top of the Atlantic Division.
Florida ended up having its best season to date, the Panthers winning the Atlantic with their most wins and points. They would meet the Islanders again, losing the opening round playoff series in six games.
Could this Florida team put up the kind of winning streak the 2015-16 team did?