The Islanders edged the Panthers, 2-1, in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Qualifier series.
New York struck first midway through the opening period when Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his third goal as an Islander. A defensive zone turnover by Panthers defenseman Riley Stillman allowed Derick Brassard the time and space to find a streaking Pageau.
Islanders lose Boychuk
New York played the final 28 minutes without Johnny Boychuk after the defenseman took a high hit from Mike Matheson in the second period. The original call on the ice was a five-minute major, but officials reviewed the play and reduced it to a two-minute illegal check to the head minor.
Trotz did not have an update on Boychuk immediately after the game.
“When I looked at it, I thought at first Johnny’s head was down and I thought [Matheson] got him pretty good with the hit on the head,” Trotz said. “They looked at it, and they reviewed it. I trust their judgement. I won’t agree with it because of the fact I want to protect my players. I thought it was borderline. I trust the referees. They looked at it and they have a lot more experience at refereeing than I do.”
Florida started the final 20 minutes with a surge as Jonathan Huberdeau cut the lead to 2-1 just 23 seconds in. But any thoughts of a comeback was put to bed by Semyon Varlamov, who finished with 27 saves, and the Islanders as a whole after limiting the Panthers to just five shots in the third period. Bobrovsky matched his counterpart at the other with 26 saves, including 15 over the final two periods.
“Bob was really good tonight,” said Huberdeau. “He’s going to be good the whole series. We just have to put the puck in the net.”
(7) New York Islanders vs. (10) Florida Panthers (Islanders lead series 1-0)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Panthers vs. Islanders, 12 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Islanders vs. Panthers, 12 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders vs. Panthers*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Panthers vs. Islanders*
You can watch all the NHL playoff streams on the NBC Sports app.