NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 31st (All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (16-15-5) at New York Islanders (11-22-4), 2 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers will try to avoid a fourth consecutive loss when they visit the lowly New York Islanders for this afternoon's encounter at Nassau Coliseum.
The Panthers have lost three in a row on the heels of back-to-back wins and have surrendered a total of 15 goals during the losing streak.
Florida's slide began with a home-and-home sweep at the hands of the rival Tampa Bay Lightning and the Panthers followed with Monday's loss to visiting Montreal. Maxim Lapierre notched the first hat trick of his career, propelling the Canadiens to the 5-2 win over the Panthers at BankAtlantic Center.
Michael Frolik and David Booth each had a goal for the Panthers, who have dropped five of seven games overall.
Craig Anderson allowed four goals on 20 shots before he was yanked early in the third period. Tomas Vokoun made eight saves the rest of the way.
Today marks the first of four straight on the road for the Panthers, who are just 8-10-2 as the visiting team this season. Florida has lost three straight road games after winning its previous five tilts as the guest.
The Islanders, meanwhile, have lost two straight and are just 1-10-2 in December. New York is also dead last in the NHL with just 26 points on the year.
The Isles visited their crosstown rivals on Monday, but were handed a 5-4 loss by the Rangers. Nigel Dawes registered the game-winning score as the Rangers used a four-goal third period to slip by the Islanders at Madison Square Garden.
Mike Comrie picked up a goal and a helper for the Islanders. Mike Sillinger, Kyle Okposo and Blake Comeau added tallies and Joey McDonald took the loss despite making 32 stops.
McDonald was starting in place of Rick DiPietro, who injured his groin in warmups. DiPietro has played just one game since returning from a 27-game absence due to knee surgery and is considered day-to-day.
On the milestone front, Islanders forward Doug Weight is just two points shy of 1,000 for his career. He has been held without a point in two straight games.
New York has lost three of its last four home tests and is 6-9-2 as the host this year.
Florida beat the Islanders, 2-0, in the Sunshine State back on October 18 to earn its sixth straight victory in this series. The Panthers have come out on top in their last two trips to Long Island, but have seven losses in their last 10 stops at Nassau Coliseum overall.
12/31 10:47:42 ET