Florida Panthers

Panthers close out regular season home schedule with a shootout loss to the Islanders

New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) scores the winning goal against Florida Panthers goalie Sam Montembeault (33) during the shootout of an NHL regular season hockey game at the BB&T Center on Thursday, April 4, 2019 in Sunrise.
New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) scores the winning goal against Florida Panthers goalie Sam Montembeault (33) during the shootout of an NHL regular season hockey game at the BB&T Center on Thursday, April 4, 2019 in Sunrise. dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Jonathan Huberdeau scored his 90th point with a goal on Thursday night, joining Aleksander Barkov to make history as the only time the Panthers have had two teammates reach that milestone.

In addition to that, rookie goalie Samuel Montembeault — making just his 10th NHL start — got his first career assist.

Those individual highlights are mentioned because that’s really all that’s left this season for the Panthers, who were eliminated last week from playoff contention.

They lost to the visiting New York Islanders 2-1 in a shootout on Thursday night.

With one game left in the Panthers season, the only real mystery remaining is whether Barkov will break the franchise record for points. He has 94 points, tying Pavel Bure’s record set in 1999-2000.

The Islanders, meanwhile, got heroics from Brock Nelson, who scored in regulation and had the only goal in four rounds of the shootout.

502 Islanders at Panthers DS.jpg
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against Florida Panthers center Frank Vatrano (72) during the shootout of an NHL regular season hockey game at the BB&T Center on Thursday, April 4, 2019 in Sunrise. DAVID SANTIAGO dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Thomas Greiss stopped 28 shots through regulation and overtime and was brilliant in the shootout to earn the win.

He was essentially a brick wall against the Panthers in the shootout, stopping Huberdeau, Barkov, Frank Vatrano and Vincent Trocheck.

Montembeault produced 35 saves through overtime and made three stops in the shootout before Nelson slipped the puck past him.

The Islanders stopped Florida’s three-game winning streak. The Panthers, who were eliminated from playoff contention last week, had outscored opponents 14-6 during their streak.

New York’s defense also kept Panthers winger Mike Hoffman off the board. He is one point away from 300 for his career.

Both teams played to a scoreless first period even though the horn signaling a goal went off just as time expired for the first 20 minutes. But instead of a goal for Florida’s Evgenii Dadonov, it was waved off as the puck never completely crossed the line.

Instead, it was New York that scored first as Nelson’s one-timer from the right circle gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead with 1:50 expired in the second period. Michael Dal Colle earned the primary assist with his cross-ice pass.

New York killed off a Thomas Hickey hooking penalty in the second but didn’t get away with a tripping call against the same player in the third.

This time, Huberdeau made the Islanders pay, beating Greiss with a shot that barely squirted through the five-hole with 7:15 left in the third.

THIS AND THAT

New Dolphins coach Brian Flores, wearing Panthers jersey No. 1, dropped the ceremonial first puck.

Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo was given the night off on his 40th birthday. He had won three consecutive starts.

Since Feb. 17, Barkov (41 points) and Huberdeau (38) are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the league in points.

The Panthers finished this season 2-0-1 against the Islanders.

The Islanders, who on Saturday clinched their first playoff berth since 2016, have won just one postseason series since 1993.

But the Islanders have renewed hope this season under coach Barry Trotz, who directed the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup title last year.

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