for this game

Surging Isles host Panthers

Feb 21, 2011 - 4:00 PM
(Sports Network) - The New York Islanders will try to continue their recent hot stretch when they host the Florida Panthers in today's matinee at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders have won five of their last six games and are boasting a 7-3-0 mark so far in February. New York is still seeded 14th out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference and is 13 points removed from a playoff spot.

The Panthers, however, have dominated the recent series with the Islanders, winning three straight, six of seven and 12 of the last 15 encounters between the clubs. Despite winning two out of three at the Coliseum, the Panthers have lost three times in their last five trips to Long Island.

Florida recorded a 4-3 home win over the Islanders on Oct. 23 and then notched a 4-1 victory at the Coliseum the last time the clubs met on Nov. 20. Tomas Vokoun won both games for the Panthers and the veteran netminder is 14-4-1 with a 1.86 goals-against average in his career against New York.

New York was dealt a 6-3 loss Thursday by Boston, but the Isles responded with Saturday's triumph over the traveling Los Angeles Kings. Matt Moulson scored twice and Al Montoya picked up his second career shutout with 35 saves, leading New York to the 3-0 win over the Kings.

Montoya, 26, was making his first start of the season and fifth of his career. His performance included a 17-save second period, which helped New York win for the fifth time in its last six games.

"The team made it pretty easy," Montoya said. "I might have made a couple saves look tough, but for the most part it was just everything from the outside, letting me see everything. It's not every night that happens."

Frans Nielsen also lit the lamp for the Isles, who had dropped their previous six consecutive games against the Kings, and had not beaten them since February 15, 2003.

Today's tilt marks the end of a three-game homestand for New York, which is just 11-14-4 as the host this year.

The Isles will have forward Matt Martin back today now that he has completed a four-game suspension. He received the ban for throwing punches to the back of Pittsburgh forward Max Talbot's head on Feb. 11.

The Panthers enter today's tilt six points in front of the Isles in the conference standings, but Florida has just four wins over its last 15 games (4-6-5).

Florida was able to end a two-game slide in its most recent trip to the ice, as the Panthers posted a shootout victory Saturday in Tampa.

Mike Santorelli tied the game with three minutes left in regulation and scored in the first round of the shootout, as the Panthers took down the Lightning, 3-2, at St. Pete Times Forum.

David Booth also lit the lamp in regulation for the Panthers, while Scott Clemmensen made 34 saves for the win.

Florida began a four-game road trip on Saturday and has now won two straight as the guest. The Panthers have a 13-15-1 road record this season.