With the New York Islanders in town to play the Florida Panthers, the Panthers used the game as an opportunity to celebrate the late Bill Torrey, the “original Panther,” and the man who built the dynasty Islanders. Whether you experienced the dynasty Islanders in person or are a later-generation fan, or are a new fan who found the team for whatever reason, Bill Torrey is part of the reason you’re an Islanders fan, directly or indirectly. It was a nice touch for both teams to sport bowtie stickers on their helmets and for all the coaches to wear bowties instead of their usual ties. Rest in peace to The Architect.
And on to the game...
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The New York Islanders came out strong in the first period, controlling play for the majority of the time. However, the Panthers took an early lead, as Denis Malgin was able to cut in front of his defenseman and receive a pass from Jared McCann, which he put past Robin Lehner.
The Islanders didn’t trail for long, as Mathew Barzal was able to breakaway with the puck and score on Luongo. The goal was Barzal’s 99th point in 100 games, a massive accomplishment for the young center, though he wouldn’t get his 100th point tonight.
The Isles also had two power play opportunities in the period, but like I said last recap, the power play has just been terrible. They’re not shooting nearly enough and the second power play unit doesn’t have enough talent on it to get anything together. It’s unfortunate knowing they’re going to get makeup calls against them when they can’t do any damage on the man advantage anyway.
Where the power play has struggled, the penalty kill has largely been successful. The Islanders successfully killed four 5-on-4 penalties this game, so that’s been a big strength.
Brock Nelson gave the Islanders the lead off a great individual play. Nelson got a pass from Scott Mayfield, faked out a kneeling Keith Yandle, and used Alexander Petrovic as a screen to put the puck past Luongo.
Unfortunately, Mike Hoffman would tie the game for the Panthers late in the second.
Valtteri Filppula and Vincent Trocheck took matching roughing penalties, and Adam Pelech took an interference penalty on the ensuing 4-on-4 play. Alexander Barkov gave the Panthers the lead during the 4-on-3 power play, ending the aforementioned strong Isles penalty killing streak. Though there were a few good opportunities to tie the game again, the Islanders still looked too hesitant to shoot on the 6-on-5 with the extra skater, and Troy Brouwer scored into the empty net to seal the game for the Panthers, 4-2.
- Congrats to Mathew Barzal, who played in his 100th NHL game tonight. There’s a very bright career ahead for him.
- The power play is really, really, really, an issue.
- The Isles are going to have to take advantage of the stretches of play where they dominate at 5v5, because they don’t seem to have the ability to come back after stretches of getting completely dominated.
- Lehner was fine tonight, but he just hasn’t looked as good since his injury. Right now it’s not a big worry, but something to watch out for. Maybe Trotz gives Greiss a few games and lets Lehner rest.
Next, the Islanders take on the Vancouver Canucks back in Brooklyn. The Canucks have been a surprise this season, much like the Islanders, but for Vancouver that’s largely been because of the phenomenal play of rookie Elias Pettersson. The 2017-18 Calder Trophy winner will get his first of two meetings with the potential 2018-19 Calder Trophy winner on Tuesday, November 13.