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Panthers Bounce back with 3-1 Win over Islanders in Game 2

Tha Sports Junkies 101-Sports News Jenni Konrad/via flickr.com

NHL

The New York Islanders faced the Florida Panthers in the second of back-to-back games Friday night.

The visiting Islanders rallied to win Game 1, but the Panthers showed no signs of slowing down.

Panthers defenseman Michael Matheson made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut. He replaced Jakub Kindl.

Reilly Smith took a rebound off the pad of Thomas Greiss and fired it past the glove to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead 4:32 into the first period. Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau picked up the assists on Smith’s third playoff goal.

Nick Bjugstad chipped a puck over the glove of Greiss off an appealing set up from Smith to make it 2-0 Panthers at 6:16 of the second period. Dmitry Kulikov got the other assist on Bjugstad’s first playoff goal.

Smith had another scoring opportunity after Bjugstad’s goal on a turnaround shot from the right circle, but Greiss extended his right leg to make the save.

John Tavares cut the lead in half by knocking a rebound off the end boards past Roberto Luongo. The Islanders trailed the Panthers 2-1 with 3:33 left in the third period. Nick Leddy and Kyle Okposo picked up the assists on Tavares’ second playoff goal.

Then, Kulikov shot the puck from his own zone into the empty net with just 9.3 seconds left in regulation. Kulikov’s last-minute goal sealed a 3-1 win for the Panthers at BB&T Center. The series is tied 1-1.

Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo rebounded after giving up five goals on 26 shots in Game 1. Luongo made 41 shots in Game 2 to receive his first playoff win since 2011.

Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss made 28 saves.

The Islanders said the focus is now about moving forward.

“It’s a long series and things you do in this game, and even though it’s not the outcome you want, it can carry over to the next game,” Islanders rookie defenseman Ryan Pulock told Barclays Center web content producer Cory Wright. “We just need to regroup here.”

Notes:
Islanders
Injured: Anders Lee (broken fibula), Mikhail Grabovski (upper body), Brian Strait (upper body), Jaroslav Halak (lower body)

 Scratched: Marek Zidlicky, Adam Pelech, Steve Bernier, Eric Boulton, Christopher Gibson

Panthers
Injured: Vincent Trocheck (foot), Dave Bolland  (lower body), Willie Mitchell (concussion), Steven Kampfer (lower body)

Scratched: Quinton Howden, Greg McKegg, Jakub Kindl

Up Next: The quarterfinal series between the Islanders and Panthers will shift to Barclays Center Sunday. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET on NBCSN, RSN, TVA, FSFL, MSG+.

NOTE: This article was written by new Tha Sports Junkies 101 hockey writer Ana Kieu.