INSIDE HOCKEY » Florida Panthers Get Inside! Wed, 01 Oct 2014 02:15:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spirited Isles Down Panthers 4-2 Wed, 02 Apr 2014 03:45:05 +0000


The New York Islanders may be out of the playoff picture this season, but their youth-infused lineup continues to play enthusiastic and winning hockey in the season’s final weeks. Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist to pace the Islanders to a 4-2 win over the visiting Florida Panthers Tuesday night at the Nassau Coliseum. Evgeni Nabokov made 20 saves to earn the win.

”No one is happy with where we are,” Martin said. ”It’s a rough year and a year we’re not proud of, but to be going down the stretch with some wins and playing good hockey definitely feels a little bit better.”

The Panthers scored first on a shorthanded breakaway goal by Quinton Howden just 1:50 into the game. Defenseman Matt Donovan had trouble reaching a pass at the Florida blue line and Howden was off to the races.

The Isles bounced right back, however, evening the score just 45 seconds later on a shot from the right point by Travis Hamonic. The first period ended in a 1-1 tie.

Although the Islanders outhshot Florida 11-5 in the first period, coach Jack Capuano was not pleased with his team’s play in the opening 20 minutes. “We got off to really slow start, Capuano said. “It wasn’t a good first period for us. We talked about it after the first period, being more physical and I think the last 40 minutes were better.”

Bailey broke the tie when he put home a rebound from just in front of the crease at 11:18 of the second period. Matt Martin made it 3-1 Isles at 17:36 of the second period when banged home the rebound of a shot by Colin McDonald. Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen had difficulty with rebound control throughout the game and the Islanders took full advantage.

Then, Mike Halmo scored his fist NHL goal at 4:21 of the third period when he swatted his own rebound into the net in a baseball-like swing just to the left of the near post.

“It feels good,” Halmo said after the game. “It’s a weight off my shoulders and I’m pretty happy. I just swung for the fences and hit it in, happily. It took a few minutes afterwards sitting on the bench for it to settle in.”

The Panthers managed a power play goal in the closing seconds of the game to make the score 4-2. With the win, the Islanders are now 4-0-1 in their last five games.

“We’re all trying to work hard down the stretch,” Bailey said. “All those guys [rookies] have done a great job for us, from practice to games,  they always give 110 percent, it’s paid off for us with a few wins here down the stretch and hopefully we can finish on a good note.”

The Islanders return to action Wednesday night when they travel to Ottawa to face the Senators.


Official attendance was 11,812

Prior to the game, Matt Martin was named the winner of the Bobby Nystrom Award. Nystrom was on hand to present Martin with the trophy which he has now won for three consecutive years. The award is given to the Isles player who best exemplifies leadership, hustle and dedication and is voted on by the fans.

Former Isles’ GM Bill Torrey was in attendance. Torrey now works for the Panthers organization.

Matt Carkner dropped the gloves twice in this game, once with Erik Gudbranson and later with Krys Barch.


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Photo Gallery: Panthers at Bruins (3/4/14) Wed, 05 Mar 2014 03:04:15 +0000

The Boston Bruins beat the Florida Panthers 4-1 Tuesday night in Boston.

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Photo Gallery: Panthers @ Islanders (3/02/14) Mon, 03 Mar 2014 14:34:23 +0000

The Florida Panthers scored four goals in the third period to blast past the New York Islanders, 5-3.

This game started off with a pop at only the 2:25 mark Krys Barch and Eric Boulton would drop the gloves and square off  which seemed to get the crowd and the teams buzzing early in the first period.

Thomas Vanek would open the scoring for the Islanders minutes later at the 6:41 mark with his 20th of the season and added his 21st on the power play just 58 seconds later at 7:39 to start the Islanders off in the right direction. The Islanders had a two minute power play  in which they failed to score and would take the first period lead 2-0 into the dressing room.

It was at the 18:15 mark that Shawn Matthias would score his 8th of the season to cut the lead to 1 but the islanders answered with a goal from Ryan Strome, his 2nd of the season at the 19:14 mark to regain the 2 goal lead for the Islanders who would end the period leading 3-2.

It was Marcel Goc who opened the scoring in the third with a slapshot at the 3:16 mark, his 11th of the season and then just 62 seconds later Shawn Matthias would put a wist shot past Anders Nilsson his 9th of the season to tie the game at 3.

Scottie Upshall would score his 11th of the season at the 10:31 mark to take a 4-3 lead and then at the 15:26 mark he would score his second of the game and 12th of the season on a power play, to take a 2 goal lead with less that 5 minutes left in  the game.

The Islander fans immediately started to leave the building with a all too familiar  taste of yet another Islander blown lead and another loss at home.

Head Coach Jack Capuano said “The way that we are losing is frustrating to me because it isn’t a structural problem or a systematic function of what we are doing, we mismanaged the puck.”

Tim Thomas made 35 saves in the game and Anders Nilsson made 29.




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Mancari to Florida in Blues Trade Mon, 03 Mar 2014 01:33:38 +0000

On Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Blues and Florida Panthers agreed to a trade of minor league players. The Blues sent forward Mark Mancari to Florida in exchange for forward Eric Selleck.

Mancari has spent parts of nine seasons with the Chicago Wolves, Rochester Americans and Portland Pirates at the AHL level, along with appearing in 42 career games at the NHL level with Buffalo and Vancouver. The 28-year old native of London, Ontario was second on the Wolves in points at the time of the trade (9 G, 22 A). He has scored 20 or more goals in seven seasons in the AHL and has been a two-time 30-goal scorer.

Selleck expects to bring a physical presence to Chicago’s lineup. The 26-year old has notched 692 penalty minutes in 240 games with the San Anotnio Rampage (AHL) and Rochester. He has appeared in two career NHL games, picking up one assist and 17 penalty minutes.

In a separate deal, the Wolves acquired defenseman Doug Janik from the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) for future considerations.

Janik, 33, has appeared in 190 career NHL games with Buffalo, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Montreal, notching three goals and 16 assists. He also has participated in six NHL playoff games, scoring one goal. This season, he has tallied one goal and seven assists over 13 games for San Antonio.


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Vanek Prepares to Leave L.I. After Another Collapse Mon, 03 Mar 2014 00:53:53 +0000


The New York Islanders watched another third period lead disappear and fell to the Florida Panthers 5-3 at the Nassau Coliseum Sunday afternoon. Thomas Vanek had two goals and an assist in the game for the Isles who led 3-1 after 40 minutes. After the game, Vanek realized this could be his last home game as an Islander.

“You think about things like that. It’s tough but I try to block it out as best as I can,”Vanek admitted. “But, right now, this loss just stings.”

Then Vanek took a deep breath and pondered his time on Long Island. “I have enjoyed  my time here. It’s never easy,” he said. “Even though it’s been a short time, I’ve still been here for a good part of the season and I’ve got to know the guys and the coaching staff has been great. You try to block it out but it’s hard to.”

The trade deadline is on Wednesday afternoon and the Islanders have only one more game on the schedule before then, a road game Tuesday night in Winnipeg. The next time Vanek steps on the ice at the Nassau Coliseum, it will likely be in a visiting uniform.

If this was his farewell performance, the Austrian forward gave his all. He scored the first two goals of the game and then set up Ryan Strome’s second period score to give the Isles a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Anders Nilsson made 20 saves in the first 40 minutes, allowing only one goal by Shawn Matthias. But then, in the third period, the Islanders collapsed again.

The Islanders have now been outscored 71-52 in the third period this season and are just 8-5-4 in games which they are leading after the second period.

Marcel Goc made it 3-2 at the 3:16 mark of the final stanza and then Matthias tied the game 1:02 later. The final two goals were by Scottie Upshall who tallied the game winner with 9:29 left in the third period and iced it with a power play tally with 4:34 remaining.

“I don’t think we changed the way we played, I thought we played hard,” rookie forward Ryan Strome said when asked about the third period. “You’ve got to find a way to bounce back whether they score one or two, you’ve got to keep going. It’s definitely frustrating.”

What made it more frustrating was that the Islanders did have their chances. One of the biggest was a full two-minute 5-0n-3 power play midway through the first period while the team already held a 2-0 lead.

“When you have a 5-on-3, you’re supposed to score. We didn’t,” Vanek said. “But even after that we played well. If you don’t bury a team, they’ll get back in it somehow.”

Coach Jack Capuano also felt his team deserved better. “The way that we are losing is frustrating to me because it isn’t a structural problem or a systematic function of what we are doing,” Capuano said. “We mismanaged the puck.”

The Islanders will likely see their cast change between now and Wednesday afternoon’s trade deadline. Vanek and defenseman Andrew MacDonald are leading candidates to be traded with the return uncertain.

The Isles return to action Tuesday night when they begin a four-game road trip in Winnipeg.


The Islanders played without defenseman Tavis Hamonic who was automatically suspended one game without pay for taking an instigator penalty with less than five minutes left in Saturday’s loss to the Devils.

Scratches included Radek Martinek and Matt Martin for the Islanders, Scott Gomez and Ed Jovanovsky for the Panthers.

Attendance was 13,008.

The first period was a physical one with Eric Boulton and Krys Barch dropping the gloves at 2:25.


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‘Canes Upend Panthers in Raleigh Sat, 08 Feb 2014 14:17:33 +0000

The Carolina Hurricanes got five goals by five different players to take down the visiting Florida Panthers on Friday night at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, 5-1. The ‘Canes jumped on the board early in the first on a goal by Riley Nash, his eighth of the season and fifth point in five games (3g, 2a) against Florida. Carolina has now moved its record to 16-1-4 when they score the first goal. Hurricane forward Alexander Semin put his team up two moments later when Panthers goalie Tim Thomas had a shot rebound out into the slot in front of a wide-open Semin. The goal is his 14th of the season and his eighth in his last ten games.

Florida, determined to stay close, answered later in the period. A Dylan Olsen shot bounced softly off the left foot of Hurricane goalie Anton Khubodin. Florida center Nick Bjugstad was crashing and found himself with the puck and an open look. The scoring in the wild first period wasn’t finished and Hurricane defenseman, Brett Bellemore, rifled one past Thomas to take a two-goal lead into the first intermission.

Florida came out firing in the second period, however, another Hurricane goal got starting goalie Tim Thomas pulled for back-up Scott Clemmensen. Jiri Tlusty got the fourth Hurricane goal after an aggressive Thomas moved to the top of the crease to stop a shot from Hurricane captain Eric Staal and was unable to control the rebound. The puck fell harmlessly behind him and in front of Tlusty. The shot by Staal moved him ahead of Carolina’s current VP of Hockey Operations, Ron Francis, for first on the franchise’s all-time shots list at 2,542. The Hurricanes added an insurance goal in the third on a power play blast from the blue-line from Andrej Sekera. The goal is his career-high fourth of the season.

Hurricane goalie Anton Khubodin was named the NHL first star of the month in January and his play tonight doesn’t show any signs of him slowing down. The win moves his record to 13-5-0 in 19 appearances this season. Carolina has one game left before the Olympic break. Montreal visits Raleigh on Saturday evening. Carolina has now scored a point or more in 20 of their 31 home games this season. They won’t see much of Raleigh after the break. In their remaining games only nine will be played on home ice and the team will play their remaining 25 games in 48 nights. A tough stretch for a team battling to stay in the thick of a playoff spot in the ultra competitive (except for Pittsburgh) Metropolitan division.

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B’s Rout Panthers in Thomas’s Homecoming Wed, 29 Jan 2014 04:57:24 +0000

Tim Thomas will always have his place in Boston sports history. I think.

Thomas, who won a cup with Boston back in 2011, took a break from hockey during last year’s shortened season before returning as the Florida Panther’s starting goaltender.

Much has been made about Thomas’s return to Boston- mostly because of the Facebook-influenced political controversy that followed the netminder’s refusal to go to the White House with his team. This, paired with his outspoken criticism of the organization for “leaking” his decision to take last season off, had Bruins fans clamoring for his first start in Boston.

The first period didn’t go so well for the former Boston goalie.

As they’ve done quite often in the midst of their offensive explosion, the Bruins came out hard, pouring 19 shots on net and scoring two goals on Thomas in the initial frame.

The first tally came off a poor play by Florida defensemen Tom Gilbert, who took the puck coast to coast but missed the net entirely with his shot, allowing for an odd-man rush up the ice for the Bruins top line.

After a failed entry on a Jarome Iginla drop-pass, David Krejci found the puck and fed it to Iginla who was then left alone in the slot. Thomas saved the initial shot, but Milan Lucic tapped home the easy rebound- nothing Thomas could do on the play, as the Florida defense hung him out to dry.

The poor play continued for Florida early in the second period.

After an unforced neutral-zone turnover, the Bruins top line maintained pressure in the offensive zone leading to the third goal of the game. Thomas failed to cover up a loose puck, Lucic stole it from him and slid it into the open net- that one’s on Thomas.

The Bruins added goals from Reilly Smith, David Krejci and a thing of beauty from fourth-liner Shawn Thornton in their 6-2 rout of Thomas and the Panthers.

After the game, Thomas spoke of the tough loss and experience of playing against his former club.

“I didn’t expect it to go this way. I felt good going into it,” he said. “I felt like I was going to play a strong game, and well, you can see the results. The good news is, in this league a loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter what you lose by. A win is a win. It’s one loss in our category but we can look forward to next game to making it a win.”

Bruins coach Claude Julien took a similar approach when asked about Thomas- “Eventually, you kind of turn the page,” said Julien postgame. “For us, we did our scouting report on the goaltender like we always do, every game, and it was as simple as that. So it didn’t really matter. Tim’s always going to be a part of this organization for what he’s done, but right now he’s on the other side, and we just have to look at him as an opposing goaltender.”

As expected, the Thomas stuff was downplayed drastically after the game, by both teams, and although he didn’t play very well, he certainly had the line of the night.

“Well, no. I think I might’ve enjoyed myself watching the State of the Union more,” said Thomas when asked if he had fun postgame. “No, probably not,” he then added with a grin.

Rask certainly won the matchup of old versus new, but more importantly the Bruins put a six spot up for third straight game and look to be playing their best hockey of the season.

Next up they face the much-hated Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden Thursday night.

Bruins-Panthers Photo Gallery by Brian Fluharty

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Photo Gallery: Panthers at Bruins (1/28/14) Wed, 29 Jan 2014 03:07:44 +0000

The Boston Bruins beat the Florida Panthers 6-2 Tuesday night in Boston.

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Photo Gallery: Panthers vs. Devils (1/11/14) Mon, 13 Jan 2014 01:38:03 +0000

Jaromir Jagr fed defenseman Marek Zidlicky for a one-timer with 2.1 seconds left in overtime to give the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center.

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Late-Charging Rangers Edge Panthers at MSG Mon, 11 Nov 2013 04:19:50 +0000

NEW YORK – The Rangers didn’t get their best start in their Sunday evening match at MSG against the Panthers.

In fact, the Panthers – a team that had gone winless in its last eight games and just fired its coach — may have been outplaying the Rangers – a team that came into the game winners of five of their last six — through two periods.

But the Rangers scored on the opening shift of the third period to break the tie, got another 5:30 later, and edged past Florida, 4-3, for their sixth win in seven games. They improve their record to 9-8-0, the first time this season New York’s record is above the .500 mark.

“We started feeling better about ourselves last few weeks, and now the results are coming for us,” said defenseman Marc Staal. “It was an important two points for us.”

The Panthers drop to 3-11-4, losers of nine straight (0-5-4). They haven’t won since October 19, and haven’t won on the road since an opening-night 4-2 triumph at Dallas on October 3.

It wasn’t the Rangers’ prettiest win of the season, nor their best performance. But it was enough to send interim Panthers coach Peter Horachek to his second loss since taking over the team Friday morning.

“You’re not going to win games if you turn pucks over, and we’re not going to get better until we decide we’re going to manage the puck better,” said Horachek. “Those are unforced errors. You can’t win hockey games that way.”

Brad Richards, who hadn’t scored since October 24 – a span of eight games – finally cashed in 46 seconds into the third when he wristed the puck past Tim Thomas (18 saves) off a feed from Carl Hagelin. After smashing and shattering his stick against the net when he missed a tap-in during the second period, Richards punched the glass behind the net in celebration.

“I was frustrated because I just felt the last few games I’ve had some good chances,” Richards said. “Tonight, sometimes you don’t capitalize on those – especially when Hags gave you an open net. Sometimes they come back and bite you. I got lucky to get another one. Good time to go in and take a deep breath after the second period. Hags made another nice play — surprised he kept giving it to me, I kept messing up.”

“A player of his caliber and his experience, he understands that’s going to happen,” Vigneault said of Richards. “He whiffed on the shot, he had an open net. Sometimes that happens. But there’s still a lot of game to be played. You expect a player of his experience to continue to play and continue to play well. That’s an unreal shot he took to enable us to take a one-goal lead.”

And the Rangers power play – beleaguered last season – sent the team to a two-goal advantage 5:30 later when Richards fed Zuccarello with the Rangers on a two-man advantage. Zuccarello’s shot got past Thomas for New York’s league-leading third 5-on-3 goal of the season.

“It feels like a power play. It didn’t feel like much of a power play last year,” Richards said. “We have a purpose out there, and it’s the same power play every night. We can work together on it. It’s good in practice, we practice it every day. The guys on it, everybody’s communicating in practice and everybody has a voice in it. It’s fun to be cohesive like that.”

The man advantage was 1-3 tonight, and is now 13th in the league at 19.6%.

“We spent a lot of time on [the power play], we know the importance of that,” Vigneault said. “It’s execution, it’s winning puck-battles, and when you have a lane, you need to shoot the puck and get people in front of the net. Our guys have been doing a pretty good job at that.”


The Rangers snapped their nine-game streak of allowing two goals or fewer when Brian Campbell deposited a rebound with 7:03 left in the third period for his second goal of the game.

The Rangers have scored four goals or more in each of their last three games, and in four of their last five.

Richards has seven points (1-6-7) in his last seven games.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (24 saves) improved to 5-3-0 in his last eight games with a 1.64 GAA and .936 sv% over that span.


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