March Madness: Isles Top Panthers

Saturday night’s contest between the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders was billed as a game for pride, and there was plenty on display throughout the game. Frans Nielsen and P.A. Parenteau scored in the shootout, and the Islanders beat the Panthers 4-3 in Sunrise.

It only took four shooters to decide the shootout, as Nielsen scored easily through Scott Clemmensen’s five-hole in the first round, and Parenteau snapped a quick shot over the glove to seal the deal in the second frame.

Things started off in stinging fashion for Florida, when short time ex-Panther Michael Grabner recorded his 30th goal of the season, in shorthanded form. Grabner stole the puck from Dmitry Kulikov in his own zone, found Nielsen with a pass, and Nielsen hit Grabner with a cross ice pass in the attack zone. Grabner wristed the shot under Clemmensen’s pad.

At the 11:18 mark of the second period, Evgeni Dadonov deflected a Clay Wilson shot passed a confused Rick DiPietro. Dadonov got his second in a row just over six minutes later, as he skated down the right wing boards, walked into the slot, and sniped a shot over DiPietro’s shoulder. It was Dadonov’s first game back from injury.

The Islanders tied the game in the third period, when Parenteau took a deflected pass from Jack Hillen, and beat Clemmensen stick side. New York went up 3-2 midway through the third on a beautiful goal from Michael Haley. Haley picked up a puck in his zone and took it coast to coast, finally going around Joe Callahan and sliding the puck into the net.

The Panthers forced overtime on Stephen Weiss’ 21st goal of the season. Weiss one-timed a Sergei Samsonov pass from just outside the right face off circle over DiPietro’s shoulder.

Florida finished its seven game home stand and will travel to New York to face the Rangers on Tuesday night.

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