New York leads the series 2-1 with Game 4 Friday.
The Islanders gave Florida five power plays Wednesday and the Panthers’ special teams unit made sure to take advantage.
Erik Haula started the scoring with his first of the postseason following an Islanders’ too many men penalty. Hoffman’s shot from the point was blocked by Semyon Varlamov, but the rebound popped out to Evgenii Dadonov. The Panthers forward drew the attention of Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield, opening up space to feed a pass to Haula.
Given the opportunity to end the series, the Islanders kept pushing for an equalizer. It finally came with 3:34 to go in the second as Jean-Gabriel Pageau netted goal No. 2 of the series. But any momentum New York took into the intermission was gone after Varlamov played the puck outside of the trapezoid and was whistled for delay of game seven seconds into the third.
Hoffman fired home a shot 34 seconds later and Brian Boyle doubled the lead shortly after.
— #StanleyCup Qualifiers on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) August 5, 2020
“I made a mistake on that play, very simple,” Varlamov said afterward. “I should have handled the puck better.”
This is Florida’s first postseason win since April 20, 2016 — a span of 1,568 days — when they beat the Islanders in their First Round series.
The Islanders will get a second chance to close out the series in Game 4 on Friday (NBCSN).
(7) New York Islanders vs. (10) Florida Panthers (NYI leads series 2-1)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Islanders 2, Panthers 1 (recap)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Islanders 4, Panthers 2 (recap)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Panthers 3, Islanders 2
Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders vs. Panthers, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Panthers vs. Islanders*