By Eric Hornick
Florida 4, Islanders 3
It was a memorable night for John Tavares, but a disappointing night for the Isles. Radek Dvorak scored with 6:32 to play to give the Florida Panthers a 4-3 win in Sunrise over the Isles before 15,071 on Bill Torrey Tribute Night. The loss breaks a three-game Islander winning streak, and four game point streak, while spoiling Tavares' first NHL hat trick.
Weaver Scores First
Mike Weaver scored the game's first goal just 4:58 into play; it was his 1st goal as a Panther and only 2nd in his last 203 NHL games. Keaton Ellerby, playing his 24th NHL game, earned his first career assist; he would also assist on Florida's second goal.
…but Tavares Evens It
John Tavares evened the game on the power play with his 3rd goal of the season at 9:25. James Wisniewski and PA Parenteau earned assists, as the Isles became the first team to score on the power play against Florida this season. All three players extended their scoring streaks to four games. Wisniewksi, who has a point in all six games he has played for the Islanders, also now has a 4-game assist streak.
Cats Strike Right Back
Steve Bernier, a 2003 first round draft pick of the Sharks, scored his first goal as a Panther 1:50 after Tavares to give Florida a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
… but Tavares Evens It Again…and Again
Tavares scored twice in the middle period to complete his hat trick, sandwiching his goals around a David Booth goal for Florida. The first of the two Tavares tallies was on the power play, giving him a team-leading 3 pp goals. The second goal, which completed the hat trick, gave him a team-leading five goals overall. Tavares' five goals have come in just five games – one of which he played only part of the first period.
Booth's goal was his 67th as a Panther, tying Bill Lindsay for tenth place in franchise history. (John Tonelli is 10th in Isles history—but he has 206 goals.)
Dvorak the Decider
Radek Dvorak has had some big games against the Isles in his career; he potted the winner on a rebound of Captain Bryan McCabe's shot for his 15th goal in 48 career games against the Isles. He has more goals against the Isles than against any other team, and tied Booth for the club lead with three goals (or as many as Tavares scored in this game). 4-3 Final.
Can't Beat Vokoun… Again
Tomas Vokoun has always played well against the Islanders, and in home games he's been unbeatable. Literally. Vokoun is now 10-0 at home against the Isles (7-0 as a Panther and 3-0 with Nashville) and 13-4-1 against the Isles overall. He is 5-0-1 in his last six games against the Isles, with the only loss coming in a 2-1 shootout at the Coliseum last January. Vokoun finished with 33 saves.
DiPietro's First (Regulation) Loss
Rick DiPietro, in his second straight start, made 26 saves but falls to 2-1-2 on the season. The loss ends DiPietro's longest point streak since going 6-0-1 in February 2008 as well as a career-best four game point streak to open a season.
Milestone Night for Tavares
Tavares is the 4th youngest Islander to record a hat trick, and the youngest since Pat LaFontaine became the youngest in Islander history (19 years, 10 days) on March 3, 1984. Bryan Trottier (twice) and Brent Sutter also scored at a younger age than Tavares.
He is the youngest player in the NHL to score three goals in a game since Sam Gagner did so for Edmonton on March 19, 2009.
Tavares is also the first Islander to ever have a hat trick against the Panthers in Florida. Mariusz Czerkawski had the Isles' other hat trick against Florida –it came in the 2000 season finale at the Coliseum.
It's also the third time in his career than Tavares has scored two power play goals in a game. He did so in consecutive games last December 8th-9th (in Philadelphia and Toronto).
Nine of Tavares' 29 career goals have been scored in October. He now has 14 career power play goals – 12 of them have been scored on the road.
Don't Lose These Often
The Isles suffer their first loss in a game which an Islander records a hat trick since March 3, 1996 in Winnipeg when Zigmund Palffy's trick went for naught in a 7-5 loss. Isles had gone 28 hat trick games without a loss since then (27 wins, 1 tie). Palffy, by the way, recorded a hat trick in the very next game (3/5/96 vs. Boston) to start that streak.
30-30-30-30 Win! Win! Win! Loss.
Hard to believe—but the Isles allowed exactly thirty shots for the fourth straight game. It's the first time since at least the mid-'80's that the Isles have allowed the same number of shots in four straight games. Strange!
Drop to 2nd
For the first time in a week, the Isles fall out of first place. The Isles are 2-2-1 on the road and 4-2-2 overall. With 10 points in eight games, the Isles are one point behind the Penguins for the Atlantic Division lead after Pittsburgh's overtime loss tonight – the Penguins have played nine games.
Goal a Game Guys
Tavares' power play tallies marked the fifth straight game that the Isles scored on the power play. The Isles have scored 11 times on the power play this season, matching their total through 17 games last year. Only Minnesota (12) have score more power play goals. The penalty killers were perfect on all 5 chances; the Isles have killed 22 of 24 (91.7%) over the last five games.
In the Circle
The Isles lost 34 of 63 draws (46%). Frans Nielsen was the Isles' best, winning 11 of 17 (65%). Zenon Konopka had a rare losing night in the circle, losing 11 of 17 (35%).
More Ice for Blake
Blake Comeau, a forward, led the Islanders in ice-time for the second straight game (23:06).
Six Down, Nine to Go
This is the sixth game in a 15 game stretch that will find the Islanders playing 12 on the road and only three at home. They are now 3-2-1 in the first six games. This was the third game of a 4-game road trip, which concludes on Wednesday with the first of a home-and-home series with the Canadiens. The Isles will host Montreal on Friday (October 29th); their only other remaining home game in this stretch is on November 6.
Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and Rob Schremp remain out for extended periods; Josh Bailey missed his second game with a hip injury. Andrew MacDonald has surgery following a hand injury suffered in Tampa on Thursday; Jack Hillen returned to the lineup in his place. Hillen played 13:36 in his third game of the season.
Season Series Stats
The Panthers lead the season series 1 game to none. The teams will next play on Long Island on November 20th. The Isles are now 0-4-1 in Florida under Scott Gordon. The Isles have not won in Florida since November 18, 2006 (0-7-1).
Not Their Date
The Isles are 0-3-2 on this date since their last win –on October 23, 1992 the Isles defeated the Caps 4-1.
Wednesday, October 27- Islanders @ Montreal Canadiens 7:30pm
[MSG+2 (Islanders pre-game at 7:00pm), WRHU 88.7FM]
Like they did last season, the Islanders and Canadiens will play twice this October. However, this year, only of the two games will be in Montreal. The Isles will visit the Bell Centre on Wednesday, while the Canadiens return the visit on Friday. Montreal won three of the four match-ups last season, with Les Habitants earning the only two regulation victories of the series.
Jaroslav Halak, now with St. Louis, was the Canadiens goaltender in all three Montreal victories last season. Carey Price owns only one career win over the Islanders (5-4 on November 1, 2008).
The Isles will be looking to record a power play goal for the sixth straight game – they last did that from March 22-31, 2007.
If Nino Niederreiter dresses, it would be his 9th NHL game. Players are eligible to be returned to their Junior team without the year counting towards their contract if they play nine games or fewer.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.