Panthers best slumping Islanders, 2-1

George Richards, Miami Herald on

Published in Hockey

NEW YORK -- The Panthers and Islanders aren't the same teams they were last spring when the two met in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Not only are there new players, new uniforms (for Florida) and even a new Honda parked off ice at Barclays Center, but their spot in the standings have changed as well. It looks like one -- or, perhaps both -- will miss the postseason this year.

On Wednesday, the Panthers kept the Islanders' rough season going with a 2-1 win.

Florida, which beat New Jersey, 3-0, on Monday night, heads home only to get another shot at the Islanders Friday at BB&T Center.

The Panthers went 2-0 on their New York-area road trip; the Islanders head south having lost their past three games as they sit in last place in the entire Eastern Conference.

The Panthers, who lost 4-2 in the series to the Isles last April, have won the first two games of the season series this year.

On Wednesday, Florida finally put some pucks past Thomas Greiss -- who stoned the Cats in the playoffs -- as the Panthers never trailed.

Florida took the initial lead less than six minutes in when Vincent Trocheck fed Keith Yandle with a back-handed pass and Yandle teed off and blasted a shot past Greiss.

The Islanders tied things up by the first break after Nick Leddy's wrister beat Roberto Luongo midway through.

In the second, Florida defenseman Jason Demers -- who, like Yandle wasn't around for last year's opening round playoff series -- let a shot fly from the right circle and it worked its way through traffic and past Greiss.

The goal was a career-high eighth for Demers who also kept the game tied at 1 in the first period when he punched a puck out across the goal line and out of harms way.

Florida, which wears the phrase '2 or less' on its warmups to signify its focus on defensive hockey, clamped down in the third as it did in Newark on Monday night in giving Luongo some help.

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