Panthers vs Islanders: Postgame Thoughts

Panthers vs Islanders
(Jonathan Huberdeau, Sam Bennett, and Aleksander Barkov celebrating Huberdeau’s 500th career point// @FlaPanthers Twitter)

After winning their season opener on Thursday, the Panthers were back on the ice Saturday night vs the New York Islanders. In their first meeting since the 2020 NHL bubble in Toronto, the Panthers left the ice victorious, winning by a score of 5-1.

The Islanders, led by Barry Trotz, are expected to be one of the top teams in the Metropolitan Division if not the entire Eastern Conference this season. The Islanders, like the Hurricanes, are one of those teams you don’t want to play from behind against. They’re sound on the defensive end, and have enough playmakers on offense to make it a tough day at the office for their opponents.

Luckily for the Panthers, today was not one of those days.

Panthers vs Islanders Recap

The Panthers struggled to get themselves going in the first period but did take a 1-0 lead into the locker room thanks to a Sam Bennett tap in off a Radko Gudas blast from the top of the zone.

In the second period, you could see that the Panthers were playing with more intensity. I’m sure they got an earful from Q during intermission, and it’s what they needed. Bennett continued his scoring with a beautiful wraparound goal to make it 2-0 (props to Owen Tippett for his work near the crease before the goal) and we can’t tell the story of the second period without talking about the Hail Duke.

This play doesn’t happen without the awareness and pass by Mackenzie Weegar, but man that finish by Duclair was filthy.

Once we got to the third period, it felt like the Panthers were going to coast to an easy victory as long as they kept themselves out of trouble. Outside of a power play goal by the Islanders, they were able to do just that.

Benny finished off the night by taking everyone in the arena’s hats with him, bagging his second career hat trick with a beautiful shot to make it 4-1 Panthers.

Of course, the Captain wanted to get in on the fun and net his first goal of the season, and first since his extension last week.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Was awesome to see Huby get his 500th NHL point, I had the privilege to be there when he scored his first NHL points, and I hope to be there once he scores his 1000th NHL point (hopefully still with the Panthers)
  • Lundell continues to impress early on, and shows why the team has so much faith in him. Getting huge penalty kill minutes and 4 v 4 time with the big guns will only help him gain confidence
  • Bob has been a whole different Bob so far this year, and that’s a great thing for the Panthers. 72 getting back to his Vezina roots elevates the floor of this team, especially the goalie room. With an improved Bob and a young star in Spencer Knight who will get better with every start, the Panthers are looking at having the top goalie tandem in the league.
  • Sam Reinhart learned what it’s like to play for Joel Quenneville tonight. After taking a delay of game penalty in the second period, he and Duclair swapped lines. Reinhart saw limited minutes on the fourth line for the rest of the game while Duclair was reunited with his line mates for most of last season. Reinhart should be back on the top line on Tuesday, but he learned he will be benched for poor performance on the ice.

Overall, a very solid game for the Cats. The Panthers weren’t forced to play from behind vs the Islanders which was part of the game plan. Next up for the Panthers, a quick trip across Alligator Alley for the first edition of the 2021-2022 Sunshine State Showdown vs the Lightning. If you have plans for Tuesday night, you better cancel them because this will be must see television.

Until next time, we move 🤝

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