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From sizzle to fizzle as Isles fall to Panthers: 4-2

Things started out well for the New York Islanders (3-3-0) in their game against the Florida Panthers (4-3-0) in hockey action on Saturday. The Isles had great energy, and immediately started to swarm the offensive zone.

The Isles could not maintain that energy, falling by a final of 4-2 to the hungrier Panthers’ squad. Florida dominated the puck possession, while also displaying great puck movement throughout the game.

In the beginning it had seemed as if it’d be the Isles game to win, as New York was immediately rewarded for their hustle. The Isles were able to bait the Panthers into taking a penalty. Captain Mark Streit cashed in quickly on the extra-man chance, on a wicked 59 foot slap shot, for the 1-0 lead.

Keeper Evgeni Nabokov (29 saves) stood on his head to keep the Islanders in the game, but it wasn’t enough to stop Kris Versteeg (4) from tying the game at the 14:39 mark of the first period.

The Panthers took the 2-1 lead in the second period, as Florida had great puck movement to find the back of the cage. Matt Bradley scored his first goal for the Panthers at the 13:39 mark, on a pretty backhanded shot.

It was in this frame, that the Islanders regained a burst of energy and speed, which eventually led to their second goal of the game. New York cashed in on their second power play opportunity when Streit set-up John Tavares (6) to even things up at 14:32.

New York had the momentum when the horn sounded to end the second period, as Nabakov made the save of the game at the 14:57 mark when Matt Bradley tried for a 38 foot snap shot. ‘Nabby’ was aggressive, playing up in the cage to stoning the scoring opportunity.

All of the momentum for the Isles was countered when rookie cager Jacob Markstrom entered the game for the Panthers in the third period. Florida then proceeded to put on a clinic of pretty puck movement, for the 3-2 lead.

Tim Kennedy scored his first goal of the season on a give-and-go play, tipped-in the pass from Shawn Matthias (2). Florida iced the game at the 19:39 mark, as surviving an Islanders 5-on-3 offensive chance in the winding moments of the third period.

New York will return home to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for a Tuesday face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins, with the game scheduled to air on the MSG Plus Network at 7:00 p.m. The Isles and Pens built up a bit of a rivalry last year, so the media hype is starting to build already for the much anticipated rematch.

Written on October 23, 2011

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