Published January 13, 2015
Evgeni Nabokov stopped all 26 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season, and Andrew MacDonald scored the winner in the first period, as the New York Islanders tamed the Florida Panthers, 3-0, at Nassau Coliseum.
John Tavares and Casey Cizikas added late tallies for the Islanders, who put the brakes on a three-game slide.
"We needed a win," Tavares said. "Games are starting to quickly tick down and we need the wins. There's not too many home games left and we haven't been very consistent over the season here. You've got to finish on a good note. Our fans deserved it."
Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves in the setback for the Panthers, who have lost eight of their last 10.
"We need some opportunistic guys to step up and say that there's a heck of a lot of opportunity for them to produce right now and unfortunately it's not happening yet," said Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen.
MacDonald opened the scoring for the hosts on the power play with 6:05 elapsed in the first period, ripping a shot home from the bottom of the right circle.
Nabokov halted 12 pucks in the second period, while Markstrom matched him with 11 stops.
Despite frantic action with the extra skater in the final minute of regulation, Florida was unable to generate a quality chance.
Tavares then hit the empty net from the Panthers' blue line to seal it with 30.9 seconds remaining and Cizikas followed with another late tally into a vacant cage.
"Consistency is the word we preach," Nabokov said. "It's not like it hasn't been there, because it has, but we have to make sure we get the results that we want. I've been saying this, and it sounds cliche, but it's not easy to win. Sometimes you need a little bounce here, a bounce there. Today, we made sure the bounces were on our side."
Nabokov upped his career shutout total to 55, and has recorded five of those with New York ... The Islanders have won three in a row over the Panthers, including both meetings this season ... There is one more game on the docket between the clubs, in Uniondale on Apr. 16.