Jordan Eberle scored twice as the Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers 4-2 and took a 2-0 series lead on Tuesday afternoon.
It’s was Eberle’s second-period goal that gave the Islanders their first lead of the game and eventually became the game-winner. Eberle received a pass in the slot from Ryan Pulock and outwaited Florida starter Sergei Bobrovsky, before burying a shot with 3:33 left in the period.
It was the 30-year-old winger’s first goal of the series.
“Pully made a really good pass through the seam,” Eberle said about the play. “You got a goalie like Bob he gets over pretty quick. You either have to get it off quick or you have to be patient. I was lucky enough to just buy my time and get in on the D-man, and just throw it in. Bob is such a good goalie at getting across and being quick enough to beat you there.
“You never have a clean shot against him, so when you do you have to make good of it.”
Wait for it… Wait for it…𝗕𝗔𝗡𝗚. pic.twitter.com/zASQnj4QGg
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) August 4, 2020
Eberle added to the Isles lead in the third when Anthony Beauvillier deflected a shot off Eberle’s shin and past Bobrovsky. The goal was the Islanders second on the man-advantage on Tuesday.
Pulock and Matt Martin also found the back of the net in the win, and Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves for the Islanders. The Islanders power play went 2-for-7 on Wednesday, while killing off two of the Panthers three chances on the man-advantage.
The Islanders now push the Panthers to the brink of elimination with the victory. It’s the second consecutive year that the Islanders jumped to a 2-0 series lead over an opponent in the playoffs.
Teams that have taken a 2-0 series lead have gone on to advance to the next round in 55 of 56 times. Only the 1985 Islanders have managed to buck that trend.
The Islanders can close out the series on Wednesday with a win and Islanders coach Barry Trotz believes the Islanders will once again need to play their style to do that.
“Play our game. Get to our game first,” Trotz said. “Forget about this game. What we did today doesn’t matter. Enjoy it for an hour and then get focused in on what we need to do tomorrow.”
Tuesday’s win didn’t come as smoothly as it had on Saturday. The Islanders fell behind twice in the game and the Panthers were able to jump to a quick start in the first period.
The Panthers controlled the pace of the game for the first 10 minutes before the Islanders settled things down.
“It wasn’t our best start, but they’re a good hockey team over there,” Martin said. “This was an important game for them. We knew that. We didn’t get off to the start we wanted to but kind of regathered ourselves and started making headway in the later part of first period and then the second we were able to pop a few.
It was a good hockey game. Well played, well fought and we’re obviously happy to have a 2-0 lead.”
Florida struck first off a goal from Mike Hoffman 11:16 into the first. The Panthers regular-season leading scorer took a pass in the high slot and fired the puck through the legs of Varlamov.
The Islanders tied the game in the second period when Tom Kuhnhackl set up Martin right in front of the net. Andy Greene held the puck in the offensive zone and Kuhnhackl was able to send a between the legs drop pass to Martin, who put the puck past Bobrovsky at 6:12 of the period.
It was Martin’s first postseason goal since Game 2 of the 2013 Quarterfinals.
That pass tho 😍😍😍😍 pic.twitter.com/keVfHnjeSX
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) August 4, 2020
The Panthers didn’t let the Islanders get too comfortable, regaining the lead just over a minute later on the power play. Barkov was able to beat Varlamov with a quick wrist shot 13 seconds into the man-advantage.
Pulock tied the game again with a power-play goal of his own at the 13:48 mark of the second. The Islanders defenseman was able to set up just above the left faceoff circle and his slapshot found the back of the net.
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