NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 1st (All times Eastern)
Florida Panthers (27-41-8) at New York Islanders (29-35-10), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Islanders will try to extend a four-game point streak and avoid a season series sweep at the hands of the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
Despite currently having 10 rookies on their roster and playing without leading scorer Kyle Okposo for two straight games due to a lower-body injury, the Islanders have put together a 3-0-1 record in their last four games and are 5-2-1 over the previous eight.
New York was last in action on Saturday, notching a 2-1 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils.
Frans Nielsen scored in regulation and scored in the shootout along with Brock Nelson. Anders Nilsson turned aside both Devils skaters he faced in the tiebreaker after having posted 23 saves through overtime.
"They're not gonna quit," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said of his players. "It's a reflection of the guys that we have in that room. "They've got a tremendous work ethic, they've got tremendous character and no matter how much ice time an individual gets, they're very supportive of one another."
Okposo leads the Islanders with 27 goals, 42 assists and 69 points, but his status for this game is unknown.
The Islanders won all three of their meetings with the Panthers a season ago, but have seen the tables turned in 2013-14. Florida began the season series with a 4-2 home victory on Jan. 14 and followed up with a 5-3 triumph on Long Island on March 2.
Florida scored four times in the third period -- two by Scottie Upshall -- to rally for that victory, snapping a two-game series road losing streak.
The Panthers come in having lost three straight and six of their previous seven overall, falling 6-3 to the hosting New Jersey Devils on Monday night.
Florida yielded the game's first three goals, but did cut its deficit to 4-3 on goals by Dmitry Kulikov, Brad Boyes and Brandon Pirri. Dan Ellis, though, was tagged for all six goals on 32 shots faced.
"Right from the beginning we put ourselves behind the 8 ball and it was 3-0," said Panthers head coach Peter Horachek. "You're not going to win too many games that way against a team fighting for the playoffs."
Boyes tallied his team-leading 20th goal of the season and Nick Bjugstad recorded two assists.
Florida will play its final road game of the season before finishing things with a five-game homestand. The Panthers are 13-24-3 as the visiting team this season.
Roberto Luongo is expected to be ready to return from a neck injury for Friday's opener of the homestand, but did not travel with the club for its current two-game road trip.
Ellis or Scott Clemmensen, recalled from the minors on Friday, figure to start tonight.
04/01 10:42:49 ET