Florida Panthers

Panthers keep up the pace to stay in the playoff race

Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, third from left, celebrates with teammates after scoring in the first period.
Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, third from left, celebrates with teammates after scoring in the first period. AP

The Panthers looked like a playoff team on Monday night in Brooklyn, and they moved two points closer to that goal against the New York Islanders.

The Panthers unloaded 41 shots and defeated the Islanders 3-0 to pull within a point of the New Jersey Devils for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The crucial win was the Panthers’ second in a row and fourth win in their past five games.

New Jersey was not in action on Monday and the Panthers have a game in hand over the Devils.

The win moved the Panthers to 10-3-1 this month and tied a franchise record for wins in the month of March. They have had 10 wins in a single month just three times in franchise history.

Keith Yandle, Nick Bjugstad and Evgenii Dadonov scored for Florida, and James Reimer made 32 saves in his fourth shutout of the season. Reimer entered Monday night’s game with wins in all four of his last starts and a 1.25 goals-against average.

Florida opened the scoring at the 11:38 mark of the first period off a goal from Keith Yandle. A shot from the point got by Islanders starter Christopher Gibson to give the visitors from South Florida a 1-0 lead.

The Panthers made it 2-0 when Nick Bjugstad fired a laser past Gibson while on the power play. Evgenii Dadonov put Florida up by three when a centering attempt hit off the skate of an Islanders defenseman and deflected into the net.

Monday’s game in New York kicked off a four-game trip that will take the Panthers to Toronto, Ottawa and Boston.

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