NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 25th (All times Eastern)
New York Islanders (30-33-11) at Florida Panthers (36-24-14), 5 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The first-place Florida Panthers will try to avoid a third straight loss when they host the New York Islanders in this evening's test at BankAtlantic Center.
Florida won a season-high five straight games from March 11-20, but the club has since lost in regulation to Carolina and also suffered a shootout setback in Friday's home tilt against Edmonton.
The Panthers, who are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since the spring of 2000, are four points ahead of Washington for first place in the Southeast Division. The Capitals have played one more game (75) than the Panthers and are in action today against the visiting Minnesota Wild.
Florida was dealt a 2-1 loss on Friday, as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins netted the lone goal of the shootout to lift Edmonton. Nugent-Hopkins outwaited Jose Theodore, and managed to slip a backhander home from the right side for the deciding tally.
Theodore ended up with 20 saves in the loss and Jason Garrison scored Florida's lone goal.
"I don't like playing the scoreboard game. I like taking care of our business and tonight we just didn't do that," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said about his team's playoff position.
The Panthers had tied a franchise record with five straight home wins before the streak ended on Friday. Florida, which will play its next four games on the road, is 20-9-9 as the host this season.
Florida is 3-0 against the Islanders this year and has a 6-1-1 record in the last eight meetings between the clubs. New York has also dropped nine of its last 10 games in Sunrise, Fla.
The Islanders, who are tied with Montreal for last in the East, are coming off Saturday's 4-3 loss in Tampa Bay. Tim Wallace scored the winner with under eight minutes to play as the Lightning beat the Islanders in regulation.
Matt Moulson and Frans Nielsen each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who had won two straight before Saturday's setback.
While not officially eliminated, New York's postseason hopes received a mortal blow as it is 13 points back with eight games to play. Al Montoya gave up four goals on 26 shots in the loss.
"The team played well and we did what we had to do to win, but I just didn't feel comfortable back there tonight," said Montoya. "When the team needed me to make a save I didn't make it and that's not what I want to do."
New York is playing the fourth game of a five-game road trip tonight. The Isles are just 15-17-5 on the road this season.
03/25 10:38:41 ET