Put the brooms back in the closet.
The Islanders surrendered a pair of goals in the opening 2:48 of the third period and dropped Game 3, 3-2, to the Florida Panthers, failing to close out the best-of-five Qualifying Round series. The Islanders had jumped to a 2-0 series lead with wins in Game 1 and Game 2.
It was a costly penalty by Semyon Varlamov which lead to the Islanders hopes of a sweep being dashed. The Isles starter mistakenly played the puck outside the trapezoid and was called for a delay of game.
On the ensuing power play, Mike Hoffman buried a one-timer from inside the right faceoff circle to put Florida in front just 41 seconds into the third. It was the Panthers second power-play goal of the game.
Brian Boyle cemented the win for the Panthers with his first goal of the series off a wrist shot from the slot. The goal would become the game-winner after Brock Nelson scored with 1:27 left in the third to pull the Islanders within one.
“It’s hockey. Sometimes weird things happen,” Josh Bailey said about the third period. “It’s about how you respond to it. They found a way to jump on us there. We kept fighting. We kept trying to find a way, it just didn’t go our way tonight. We’ll try and change that narrative next game.”
Special teams were the difference-maker for the second consecutive game. The Panthers converted on two of their five chances on the man-advantage, while the Islanders went 0-for-3 on the power play.
New York had converted on two of their seven chances in Game 2, but they’re just 3-for-12 on the man-advantage this series.
“They have a dangerous power play. They have a lot of skilled guys and we know that,” Varlamov said. “They have a couple things that they’re doing very well and we just need to cut our mistakes. Then play a little more desperate on the PK.”
The Islanders had done a good job of staying out of the box through the first two games in the series, holding the Panthers to one chance on the power play in Game 1 and three in Game 2.
It was a power-play goal that kicked off the scoring in the second period. After Varlamov made the initial stop on a shot from Hoffman, Evgenii Dadonov was able to push the rebound out to Erik Haula, who put the puck past the Islanders goaltender.
The Islanders responded later in the period to even things up at 1. Anthony Beauvillier hustled to retrieve the puck after he dumped it into the Florida zone. He was able to pick up the puck and send it Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who came charging off the bench for the goal.
“We have to play desperate in Game 4,” Beauvillier said. “They’re going to come hard. We’re going to have to come hard as well. It’s something we’re going to focus on for sure and make sure everyone is on the same page. Just play the Islander way and that’s how we’ve had success. That’s how we’re going to have success going forward.”
The Islanders will have another chance to eliminate the Panthers on Friday in Game 4.
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