Both the Islanders and Panthers have yet to win a playoff series this century, so it’s easy to assume that both these teams will be battling each and every shift. In the three regular season meetings, the Islanders went 1-1-1. With Game 1 set to begin on Thursday in the Sunshine State (7:30 PM, MSG & MSG+), let’s take a look back at their regular season showdowns:
11/27/15- PANTHERS 3, ISLANDERS 2 (SO)
A third-period comeback proved not to be enough as the Isles were defeated in a shootout. Down 2-0 entering the third, Ryan Strome got the Isles on the scoreboard with assists from Mikhail Grabovski and Marek Zidlicky. Zidlicky picked up his second assist of the night three minutes later when Josh Bailey‘s shot found the back of the net, knotting the game at two. After Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, and John Tavares‘ shootout goals were matched by Florida, Roberto Luongo stopped Brock Nelson and Florida came home with the two points.
12/15/15- PANTHERS 5, ISLANDERS 1
Although the Islanders outshot the Panthers 34-16, Roberto Luongo was a brick wall the entire night, allowing only one goal. Brock Nelson picked up the lone goal for the Isles, as New York’s five-game home winning streak came to an end. The Isles failed to convert on five power play opportunities and allowed a shorthanded goal.
3/14/16- ISLANDERS 3, PANTHERS 2
What looked to be a third straight loss for the Isles proved to be a third-period thriller. After a woeful opening two periods, Jack Capuano chose to change up his lines and send his team a message heading into the final frame down by two goals. Kyle Okposo scored the team’s first goal with less than 10 minutes remaining, then Josh Bailey tied the game up less than three minutes later. The hero would be Cal Clutterbuck, who picked up his fourth game-winning goal of the season with 1:21 remaining.