Not so special: Panthers on the brink, lose Game 2 to Islanders 4-2
It did not take long to tell the Florida Panthers took Game 2 very seriously against the Islanders as they dominated the opening period yet watched New York rally for a 4-2 win on Tuesday afternoon.
The Islanders now lead the best-of-five Stanley Cup qualifier 2-0 with Game 3 set for Wednesday at noon (FS Florida, NBCSN).
Florida is a loss away from seeing its season come to a close and their constant trips to the penalty box are a big reason why.
Early on Tuesday, the Panthers overcame a double-minor from Mike Matheson early in the first after they took control of the puck in the offensive zone.
Yet after Colton Sceviour helped kill that four-minute penalty with a hustle play to draw one of his own, Mike Hoffman fired a shot from the top of the left circle to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 11:16 of the period.
It was the first lead of the series for the Panthers — and their first lead since beating the St. Louis Blues 2-1 way back on March 9.
We're Hoff and running with today's scoring!@MHoffy68 gets the @FlaPanthers on the board to take a 1-0 lead. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/TfbuOOzxzs
— #StanleyCup Qualifiers on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) August 4, 2020
The lead did not last long in the second as the Islanders came out flying and put more pressure on Sergei Bobrovsky (30 saves) and ended up doing so throughout the period.
Just six minutes into the period, New York tied the score at 1 after a turnover along the side boards led to a goal from Matt Martin.
At 7:38 of the second, Evgenii Dadonov drew a penalty giving Florida its first real power play chance of the game.
Sasha Barkov then proceeded to make it count, throwing a powerful wrist shot from the left circle which went top shelf and made it 2-1 at 7:54.
Aleksander Barkov wins the faceoff and hits the short-side snipe! 💥
Watch the @FlaPanthers Qualifiers
LIVE on FOX Sports Florida 📺 | FOX Sports Go 📱: https://t.co/870px2zRR6#FlaPanthers #OneTerritory #NHL #Untamable pic.twitter.com/xmNP8IOG0c
— FOX Sports Panthers (@FOXPanthers) August 4, 2020
The Islanders ended up scoring the final two goals of the period to take a 3-2 lead into the third.
With Hoffman in the box, Ryan Pulock blasted a shot from the top of the left circle which clipped Bobrovsky on its way in.
Less than three later, Matheson couldn’t handle the puck just inside the offensive zone, the Islanders worked it in and scored as Bobrovsky appeared to get tripped up (by Matheson) as Jordan Eberle scored.
Florida had numerous scoring chances late in the second on a power play chance with Dadonov, Huberdeau and Hoffman all getting good looks.
With 40 seconds left in the period, however, Huberdeau got called for a slash, Barkov got hit and Brian Boyle got hit with two penalties — including a 10-minute misconduct.
#Isles JG Pageau tried to make #FlaPanthers Brian Boyle flinch. 😂 pic.twitter.com/RfCYR6Ojih
— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) August 4, 2020
New York went into the third holding a 3-2 lead.
Thanks to another couple of penalties on the Panthers, New York was able to dictate play in the third — as well as add to their lead.
Midway through the period, Eberle got in front of Bobrovsky and deflected a shot from Anthony Beauvillier to make it a 4-2 game.
The Islanders ended the day with seven power play chances, scoring on two of them.
Dating to last season, the Panthers have now lost six consecutive games to the Islanders.
More on this game later Tuesday.