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About Last Night: Islanders 4, Panthers 2

Howden and Pirri find the back of the net but the Cats fall in their 2013-14 road finale.

Wednesday, 04.2.2014 / 10:00 AM ET / News
By "Hockey Pat" McGrath  - FloridaPanthers.com
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About Last Night: Islanders 4, Panthers 2

ABOUT LAST NIGHT is the morning-after recap of last night’s Florida Panthers game produced by “Hockey Pat” McGrath, a lifelong Cats fan who previously wrote for the Florida Panthers themed blog “TheRatTrick”. It is a followup to Hockey Pat’s hilariously informative gameday article: THE LOWDOWN.

The contents of ABOUT LAST NIGHT and all opinions expressed therein are solely those of Hockey Pat and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Panthers or Sunrise Sports & Entertainment LLC. Having said that, if you find yourself laughing or smiling as you read ABOUT LAST NIGHT, feel free to thank us. We accept thank you notes, tweets and ticket purchases.


With a 4-2 loss at the hands of the New York Islanders last night, the Panthers bid adieu to their 2013-14 road campaign. The Cats will now return home for their final five games of the season, which starts Friday night against the Calgary Flames.

Here is what you may have missed:

Off to the Races

It did not take long for Jonathan Racine to make an impact. In his very first shift of his very first NHL game, the 20-year-old defenseman dished out a reverberating check to Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck.

Brief aside: Cal Clutterbuck has to be in the top-five for best names in the NHL. He was acquired last summer during the NHL Draft in the trade that sent Nino Niederreiter to the Minnesota Wild. Without a doubt the Cal Clutterbuck for Nino Niederreiter trade is the greatest trade in NHL history in terms of outlandishly awesome player names. Both sound like names Suzanne Collins would bestow on a character from The Hunger Games.

Anyway, the hit was all about timing as Racine got to Clutterbuck right as the puck arrived. Twitter may have loved the hit but the guys in stripes are not as easily pleased, and Racine was awarded a penalty for interference just 44 seconds into the game.

The big hit set the tone for the Panthers, and on the ensuing penalty kill Quinton Howden poked an errant puck past Islanders defenseman Matt Donovan for a shorthanded breakaway. Howden adroitly fired a shot top shelf past Evgeni Nabokov for his fourth goal of the season. Hugs all around!

All told, Racine recorded 15:35 TOI in his NHL debut. He finished at -1 for the game but impressively led the team with four blocked shots.

Two $hort

Howden’s first period shortie was the sixth for the Panthers this season and the Cats' second in two nights as Dmitry Kulikov recorded one on Monday evening against the New Jersey Devils. Howden’s goal gave the Cats shorthanded goals in back-to-back games for the fourth time in team history.

One for Good Measure

While the game was already out of reach, it was nice to see the Panthers end their last road game with a power play goal. The goal went to Brandon Pirri (11) who has demonstrated a wicked wrister often in his 16 games with the Panthers.

Scoring Race Update

The race for the Panthers scoring title is growing tighter than the vocal harmonies on a Local Natives record. With his assist last night, Brian Campbell joined Scottie Upshall and Nick Bjugstad in a three-way tie atop the leaderboard at 35 points apiece. Brad Boyes is right behind the trio with 34 points and there are a number of players within spitting distance of the lead. Here is an update on the race:

Up Next: Bubble Boys

The Cats close out the season with five at home starting this Friday against the Flames. The homestand also features matchups against the Stars, Flyers, Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets. The Stars, Jackets and Riddick Bowe’s favorite team, the Leafs, are all fighting for their playoff lives, so the Cats will have a chance to play spoiler and see how they match up against some truly desperate teams. The Flyers will also have a lot to play for as they are jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference standings. The Flames, meanwhile, have a group of young players who will provide a good measuring stick for the current Cats roster. It should be an exciting few days as the Panthers will have the chance to pop a few bubbles along the way.




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

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