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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.

ISLANDERS 4, PANTHERS 2

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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 52 17 23 14 40
J. Huberdeau 55 11 29 12 40
J. Jokinen 55 11 27 12 38
V. Trocheck 55 17 18 3 35
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
R. Smith 55 18 16 12 34
B. Pirri 51 11 13 -3 24
A. Ekblad 51 11 13 19 24
B. Campbell 55 5 18 20 23
N. Bjugstad 40 9 10 -3 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 24 13 5 .927 2.23
A. Montoya 8 4 1 .926 2.06

 
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