for this game

Skrastins sparks Panthers' fifth straight win

Mar 13, 2008 - 3:33 AM
SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- While the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders were separated by just one point in the standings entering Wednesday's contest, their most recent meeting reinforced that a bigger gap exists between the teams.

Defenseman Karlis Skrastins scored the eventual game-winning goal 8:22 into the third period as the Panthers skated to a 4-2 victory over the Islanders.

Florida, which has won a season-high five straight games, has become very accustomed to pulling out victories in one-goal games. During the streak, all but one game has been decided by that margin.

"It's definitely now or never," defenseman Bryan Allen said. "We're treating every game like a Game Seven. We've got to win from here on in. We can't rely on anyone else to do this or do that. That's our goal now - to win every game from here on in."

Meanwhile, the Islanders (32-33-7) have dropped four straight in regulation and have seen their hopes for a playoff push fade. They trail the Panthers (33-31-8) by three points in the standings in the race to catch eighth-place Philadelphia (35-27-9), which dropped a 3-2 decision to Toronto earlier in the evening.

"To be how close we were a few weeks ago and to be where we are now is frustrating," said New York's Blake Comeau, who scored a goal in the third period but missed an opportunity later in the session to tie the game at 3-3.

"Until we're mathematically out, the guys in this room are going to keep pushing hard. Nobody is ready to lay down and die yet. We've got a great attitude in this room."

With the game tied at 2-2 in the third period, Skrastins used a screen to beat All-Star goaltender Rick DiPietro for his second goal of the season.

"I'm not a guy who's going to score a lot of goals, but this is a pretty big goal for me," Skrastins said. "The most important thing is that it's a game-winning goal and it's - for the team - two points.

"I had the time, so I took my time. I just tried to hit the net. ... I don't know if the goalie saw it, so I just hit the right spot."

Brett McLean added an empty-netter with 49 seconds remaining for Florida, which has won more than four games in a row for the first time since reeling off seven in a row from March 17-29, 2006.

DiPietro, who allowed eight goals in Tuesday's loss to Tampa Bay, made 28 saves but was saddled with his fourth straight loss.

All-Star netminder Tomas Vokoun turned away 27 shots for the Panthers to collect his second straight win.

"We're playing smarter than we used to," Vokoun said. "The last three games we're keeping the shots under 30 and giving ourselves a chance to win."

After DiPietro turned away a pair of shots on the other end to open the second period, captain Bill Guerin broke a scoreless tie just 28 seconds into the session.

Guerin, who was located in the right faceoff circle, took a cross-ice feed from Richard Park and fired a wrist shot into the left corner of the net for his team-high 22nd goal of the campaign.

The excitement was short-lived, however, as the Panthers struck back just 55 seconds later.

Radek Dvorak led the odd-man rush before feeding Ville Peltonen, who found Kamil Kreps on the right side of the crease. Kreps flipped a wrist shot that went just over DiPietro's blocker and into the net for his seventh tally of the season to knot the game at 1-1.

The Panthers took their first lead at 65 seconds of the third period, courtesy of Stephen Weiss' 12th goal of the season.

Blue-liner Jay Bouwmeester tracked the puck along the boards behind the net, turned to his right and tossed it near the crease. McLean and Weiss took numerous pokes at the puck before the latter finally dislodged it from DiPietro and into the net.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 0 1 1 2
    FLORIDA 0 1 3 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NYI - BILL GUERIN 22 (RICHARD PARK, JEFF TAMBELLINI) 0:28
    FLA - KAMIL KREPS 7 (VILLE PELTONEN, RADEK DVORAK) 1:23
    3RD PRD: FLA - STEPHEN WEISS 12 (BRETT MCLEAN, JAY BOUWMEESTER) 1:05
    NYI - (PP) BLAKE COM

    Mar 12 9:54 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 2
    FLORIDA 4
    3RD PRD: FLA - (EN) BRETT MCLEAN 14 (UNASSISTED) 19:12

    Islanders 2, Panthers 4  3rd - 0:48Mar 12 9:52 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 2
    FLORIDA 3
    3RD PRD: FLA - KARLIS SKRASTINS 2 (UNASSISTED) 8:22

    Islanders 2, Panthers 3  3rd - 11:38Mar 12 9:34 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 2
    FLORIDA 2
    3RD PRD: NYI - (PP) BLAKE COMEAU 6 (MIKE COMRIE, BRYAN BERARD) 7:18

    Islanders 2, Panthers 2  3rd - 12:42Mar 12 9:31 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    FLORIDA 2
    3RD PRD: FLA - STEPHEN WEISS 12 (BRETT MCLEAN, JAY BOUWMEESTER) 1:05

    Islanders 1, Panthers 2  3rd - 18:55Mar 12 9:20 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 0 1 1
    FLORIDA 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NYI - BILL GUERIN 22 (RICHARD PARK, JEFF TAMBELLINI) 0:28
    FLA - KAMIL KREPS 7 (VILLE PELTONEN, JAY BOUWMEESTER) 1:23
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYI 17

    Mar 12 8:59 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    FLORIDA 1
    2ND PRD: FLA - KAMIL KREPS 7 (VILLE PELTONEN, JAY BOUWMEESTER) 1:23

    Islanders 1, Panthers 1  2nd - 18:37Mar 12 8:30 PM


  • NHL
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    FLORIDA 0
    2ND PRD: NYI - BILL GUERIN 22 (RICHARD PARK, JEFF TAMBELLINI) 0:28

    Islanders 1, Panthers 0  2nd - 19:32Mar 12 8:29 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY ISLANDERS 0 0
    FLORIDA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYI 17 17
    FLA 7 7
    GOALIES: NYI - RICK DIPIETRO
    FLA - TOMAS VOKOUN

    Mar 12 8:09 PM
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