Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Scottie Upshall notched a goal and an
assist, as the Florida Panthers halted New York's seven-game road win streak
with a 4-2 victory over the Islanders at BB&T Center.
Drew Shore, Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad each scored once, while Tim
Thomas turned aside 31 shots for Florida, which improved to 4-1-2 over its
last seven games.
"The guys did what they had to," Florida head coach Peter Horachek said. "They
battled down to the very end and Timmy (Thomas) played his normal, solid
Colin McDonald and Thomas Vanek both lit the lamp for the Islanders, who
suffered their first road loss since a 6-3 setback in Phoenix on Dec. 12.
Kevin Poulin allowed all four goals on 26 shots in defeat.
The Panthers pounced on Poulin from the outset, potting three goals in the
first frame to create a comfortable cushion.
The offensive onslaught started just 32 seconds in, as the Islanders turned
the puck over at their own blue line and Brad Boyes picked up the disc to
create a 2-on-1 rush with Barkov.
The teammates then worked the disc back-and-forth before Barkov buried a one-
timer from the low right circle to give Florida a 1-0 lead.
Shore doubled the lead at 15:34 when he scooped up the puck below the New York
goal line and held off a defender as he made his way to the right faceoff dot,
where he wheeled around before ripping a shot that deflected off a defender's
skate in front and slipped past Poulin to make it 2-0.
Bjugstad capped the Florida flurry in the final minute of the first. Another
New York turnover near the blue line saw Upshall come up with a steal and send
the disc ahead to Bjugstad, who lifted a wrister over Poulin from in close to
push the lead to 3-0 with 35.6 ticks left.
Upshall extended the margin with a short-handed tally late in the second, as
he stripped Andrew MacDonald at the Florida blue line and raced in on a
breakaway. Despite MacDonald nipping at his heels, Upshall was able to stuff
the puck past the extended right pad of Poulin for a 4-0 lead at 15:59.
New York finally found the back of the net in the final minute of the second.
Matt Martin picked up a rebound on the low left side and made his way
behind the net before setting up McDonald's one-timer from the low right side
that made it 4-1 with just over 30 seconds left in the period.
Vanek netted his 16th of the season 2:38 into the third to get the Isles
within two, but a high-sticking double-minor against defenseman Calvin de Haan
handcuffed New York's comeback bid and the Panthers were able to hang on for
"It's partially good goaltending, but also us not burying our chances," Vanek
said. "It's those little plays we didn't execute."
Shore's goal was his first of the season ... New York had won a season-high
four straight overall coming into the game ... The Islanders' seven-game road
win streak was the second longest in club history behind their eight-game tear
from Feb. 27-March 29, 1981 ... Florida's Ed Jovanovski supplied two assists
and was a plus-2, his first points and best performance in his five games back
from radical hip surgery which allowed him to continue his career.
The Sports Network