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New York Islanders

Islanders Lose To Panthers In OT In Final Game Before All-Star Break



AP Photo/John Munson

Elmont, NY– At the end of a trying week for the New York Islanders, they now have the chance to get a respite as they enter the NHL’s All-Star break.

But during the nine-day pause in their schedule, the Islanders will be forced to cope with the weight of a winless streak that reached three games following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers at UBS Arena on Saturday night.

With an ill-timed line change by the Islanders in overtime, Evan Rodrigues and Oliver Ekman-Larsson raced into the attacking end on an odd-man rush that Ekman-Larsson used to snipe the game-winning goal for Florida over the blocker of Semyon Varlamov.

“We could have made a little bit of a better change,” Islanders head coach Patrick Roy said. “Their defense jumps in on the rush. Could we have played the two-on-one differently? Yes. But we had our chances before.”

The overtime drops the Islanders’ record to 20-17-12 entering the break. It also spoiled a comeback effort that was completed when Kyle Palmieri scored to tie the score for the Islanders with the net empty with seconds to go in regulation.

Noah Dobson had an assist on Palmieri’s 13th goal of the season. With it, Dobson touched 52 points this season to set a new career high.

Matthew Tkachuk gave Florida a 2-1 lead as he stood in front of the Islanders’ net and deflected a puck through the legs of Semyon Varlamov at 5:59 of the third period.

With Samuel Bolduc sitting in the box for a tripping penalty, Tkachuk’s goal was one of two power-play goals the Islander surrendered in the game.

Sam Reinhart broke a scoreless tie at 7:56 of the second with a power-play goal while Mathew Barzal sat in the box for hooking. From the bumper position, Reinhart dropped to a knee to fire a one-timer past Semyon Varlamov with assists from Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe.

In total, the Islanders finished the night 2-4 on the penalty kill.

“We gave up a little too many shots,” Roy said. “That is a very good power play. I thought our P.K. did a good job. Was it perfect? No. Would I like to see us be 100 percent on the P.K.? Yes, because we would have won the game 1-0.”

That 1-0 final that never happened would’ve been courtesy of a goal from Simon Holmstrom in the second period.

After he beat out Aaron Ekblad in a mad scramble for a puck in front of the Florida goal, Holmstrom punched it past Anthony Stolarz for his 12th goal of the season, tying the score at one all.

Oliver Wahlstrom won the faceoff that led to Holmstrom’s goal and earned a secondary assist on the play. The helper snapped a seven-game pointless streak for Wahlstrom, as it was his first since Nov. 24.

“I thought he played a pretty good game,” Roy said. “It’s never easy when you haven’t played in a long period of time, but I thought he responded pretty well.”

As they enter the break, the question for the Islanders now becomes what will their response will be when they return.




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