The New York Islanders came out of the gate hitting hard and dominating play, and they opened the scoring when Andrew MacDonald scored a power play goal at 6:05 of the first period (assisted by Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo).
The Isles put in a constant effort throughout the game, but tonight it was the play of Evgeni Nabokov that made the biggest difference. He stopped all 26 shots for his third shutout of the season and was awarded the first star of the game.
The second period went scoreless and so did most of the third until with 31 seconds left John Tavares scored his 19th goal of the season into an empty Panthers net. Casey Cizikas would score the final goal of the night six seconds later to make it a 3-0 final.
With tonight’s win the Islanders were not only able to salvage the last game of their home stand but they are now 1 point out of the final playoff spot in this shortened season where every game IS BIG at this point.