New York Islanders Save Their Season, Eliminate Florida Panthers

The Associated Press

The New York Islanders have moved onto the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

It is the first playoff series the Islanders have won since 1993 when they defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins and Jaromir Jagr.

In 2016, the Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers and Jaromir Jagr.

The Panthers fought for their life and Jonathan Huberdeau put them on the board with only a minute left in the first period.

The battle rested on the shoulders of the goalies who did everything they could to keep their team in the game as the frontmen barreled into the nets. Shot after shot hit Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss and Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo.

Through three periods, the goalies faced a total of 62 shots.

Nobody could penetrate the net.

The Islanders pulled Greiss towards the end of the third period. With an extra attacker, the Islanders stayed in the Panthers’ zone. Somehow, though, with all those players on the ice no one saw the puck sitting right there next to Luongo.

Except Islanders captain John Tavares.

He tied the game with 53 seconds left in the game.

But the goal came with controversy. Replays show that the officials should have called Matt Martin for tripping.

Life sprang up in Barclays Center and the players left to prepare for first overtime.

The Tavares goal provided more energy to the Islanders, who had 15 shots on goal. Neither team could get the puck into the net, though, which meant another overtime.

Tavares once again saved the day with a smooth wraparound goal on Luongo.

Barclays Center erupted after Tavares scored.

“You can’t even really process it,” said Tavares. “I’m glad it went in because my leg starting cramping in that pile. I’m glad I didn’t have to skate back down. It was obviously just amazing to look around and just see all the orange and blue. Just incredible.”

Greiss ended the game with 41 saves.

“He’s huge,” boasted Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo about his goalie. “He was great for us all series. Over the last two games and what he’s accomplished, just phenomenal. He’s played so well. I’m happy to see him doing well.”


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