UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Jimmy Hayes’ second goal of the game 2:10 into the third period lifted the slumping Florida Panthers to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Hayes put a rebound of Nick Bjugstad’s shot past goalie Jaroslav Halak nine seconds into a power play for his 15th goal. Bjugstad also assisted on Hayes’ first-period tying goal.
Erik Gudbranson also scored, Brandon Pirri added one into an empty net with 22 seconds left and Al Montoya made 32 saves for the Panthers, 2-6-1 in their past nine — including losses at New Jersey and the New York Rangers in their previous two.
Anders Lee scored both goals for Metropolitan Division-leading New York, which has dropped three straight. Halak made 26 saves.
The Panthers grabbed a 2-1 lead with 9:45 left in the second when Tomas Fleischmann sent Gudbranson into the New York end with a backhand pass. Gudbranson drove down left wing and slithered a backhanded shot inside the left post for the defenseman’s third of the season and second since opening night. However, he has two in seven games.
An eventful power play led to Lee’s tying goal with 7:15 remaining in the period. Just seconds after Halak stopped Derek MacKenzie’s short-handed break, after a turnover in the Islanders end, Lee deflected in Travis Hamonic’s drive from the right point to make the Panthers pay for a too many men on the ice penalty.
Lee has scored four of his 15 goals in the past six games.
The Islanders jumped out quickly against the Panthers, who were playing for the second straight night and the third time in four days — all in the New York metropolitan area.
Islanders captain John Tavares, in his 400th NHL game, brought the puck into the Florida end and moved it left to Josh Bailey, who found Lee just 1:44 in.
But the Panthers bounced back moments later and tied it on Hayes’ first goal. Florida won a faceoff in the Islanders zone and worked the puck around. Bjugstad whipped a pass from the left-wing boards into the middle to Hayes at 4:48.
Both teams had multiple scoring chances in the first, in which each team recorded 12 shots. Scottie Upshall struck the post at the midpoint of the period behind Halak, who made several in-close saves to deny Florida.
NOTES: The Panthers scratched left wings Sean Bergenheim and Shawn Thornton. Fleischmann rejoined the lineup after sitting out three of the previous four games as did Upshall, who missed three of five. Bergenheim was a first-round pick of the Islanders in 2002. … Tavares, the NHL’s second star for January, took the Islanders’ first penalty — a slashing call in the second period in retaliation for being struck in the face by Dave Bolland. … Montoya went 18-16-10 in 52 games with the Islanders from 2010-12. Florida’s No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo was taken by New York with the No. 4 pick in the 1997 draft. … The Islanders wore replicas of their infamous “Fisherman” jerseys during warmups.
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