Published March 02, 2014
Uniondale, NY – Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The Florida Panthers stopped a four-game losing streak with a four-goal outburst in the third period.
Scottie Upshall scored two of the goals, including the go-ahead tally, and the Panthers rallied to beat the New York Islanders 5-3 on Sunday for their first post-Olympic break win.
Shawn Matthias also scored and Marcel Goc had the other goal for the Panthers, who had dropped two straight since coming back from the Sochi break. They got only their second win in their last nine games (2-7-0) and snapped a five-game road skid.
"This is a fun building to play in. You see right off the bat it's going to be a tough game," said Upshall. "Those are always fun to play. We stuck up for each other, we believed in the process and tonight was a big win."
Tim Thomas made 35 saves for the win, including 11 in a spotless third period. Upshall and Matthias both had an assist in the win.
Thomas Vanek, the topic of red-hot trade talk ahead of Wednesday's deadline, had two early goals for the Islanders and Ryan Strome scored in the final minute of the second period to give them a 3-1 lead going into the third.
But the Islanders beat Anders Nilsson four times in the last period as the Islanders fell to 1-2 since coming back from the break, including two straight losses. Nilsson allowed five goals on 34 shots.
Islanders forward Frans Nielsen was activated from injured reserve after going down with a broken hand Feb. 8. He had an assist in 20 minutes of ice time.
Goc's wrist shot from the left side deflected off defenseman Matt Carkner's stick and knuckled past Nilsson 3:16 into the third period and Matthias tied the score at 3-3 just 62 seconds later, scoring on a loose puck that trickled near the crease.
Upshall got the go-ahead goal 10:31 into the third period on a rebound Nilsson left sitting near his left pad after Matthias' shot from the high right side. Upshall then scored on a power play around five minutes later for the 5-3 lead.
"They capitalized on a couple of chances and after that the frustration level took over," said Vanek.
The Panthers were 1-for-4 on the power play and New York went just 1-for-6.
Earlier, Vanek scored twice in 58 seconds to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead in the first period. Both goals came on wrist shots, the first from the slot and the second from the right circle that beat Thomas to the far side on a power play 7:39 into the game.
The Islanders failed to score on a two-minute 5-on-3 several minutes later.
Matthias batted a rebound out of the air for his first goal with 1:45 left in the second period but Strome restored New York's two-goal lead, scoring on a loose puck in front just 59 seconds later.
Vanek also had an assist ... The Panthers will finish a three-game road trip Tuesday at Boston ... The Islanders start a four-game road trip Tuesday at Winnipeg. It will be their first road game since Feb. 4.