Panthers top Islanders; Islanders losing streak climbs to 12 games

The Florida Panthers returned to their winning ways Saturday night as they handed the New York Islanders their 12th straight loss Saturday night in Long Island. The horrid streak started almost a month ago as the Florida Panthers send the Islanders to a 4-3 loss back on Oct, 23rd.

The Islanders, for only the second time in their 12-game losing streak, drew first blood as Bryan McCabe sent a pass out in front of his own net, only to have it intercepted by Matt Moulson who took the feed and sent it over the right shoulder of Tomas Vokoun for the 1-0 lead, which the Islanders held going into the second period.

Mike Santorelli got things going for the Panthers early in the second period, as he sent a cross-ice pass from Shawn Matthias past Dwayne Roloson to tie the game up at one. Then, less than a minute later Radek Dvorak breaks in over the Islanders line, and lets a slap shot go, which is tipped past Roloson by Marty Reasoner for the 2-1 lead.

The Panthers would not be finished there, as at 6:25 of the second period Steven Weiss fired a shot on Roloson which was then picked up by David Booth, and fed cross crease to Mike Santorelli who sends a gorgeous shot into the wide open net for the 3-1 lead. The Panthers quickly erased that 1-0 deficte by scoring 3 goals in only four minutes.

Then, at 10:21 of the second the Panthers would put the game out of reach as Stephen Weiss would take a pass from Dmitri Kulikov and send it past Dwayne Roloson for the 4-1 lead.

Tomas Vokoun would stop 29 shots from there on out to preserve the lead, he made 39 saves overall for his 8th win of the season. Roloson would make 36 saves in a losing effort, as his record now drops to 2-9-1 on the season.

The Islanders now have 1 point in their last 12 games, going 0-11-1. They have only scored 11 goals in their last 10 games. Even hiring a new coach has not worked for the Isles', as they now drop to 0-2 since hiring AHL coach Jack Capuano, to replace the fired Scott Gordon.

New York had a chance to extend to their lead late in the first, but they failed to take advantage of a 5-on-3 power play which lasted 1:45 and spanned the first two periods.

“The second period cost us the game, but the turning point was not capitalizing on the five-on-three,” Capuano said.

When asked about his great performance so far this season, Panthers’ Santorelli grinned and said, “I’m just trying to improve, playing with great players certainly helps.”

Santorelli has already made his coach notice his contributions as coach Pete DeBoer said, “I like the way he plays, I’m comfortable when he’s on the ice.”

The Panthers return home where they will play their next three, starting with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night. The Islanders on the other hand will have no break as they fly to Atlanta where they will take on the Trashers Sunday night, in hopes of snapping their losing streak, and getting their first win in November.

Note: Islanders 39-year old captain Doug Weight did not play as he was sidelined by back spasms... This was Santorelli’s first multipoint game in the NHL... The Panthers now extend their record for most games to start a season without needing overtime to 18-games.

Adam Reid