Tavares gets hat trick, leads Islanders over Panthers 5-2
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Jack Capuano called his team out — and the New York Islanders responded.
John Tavares scored three goals for his sixth career hat trick and the Islanders snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.
Capuano wasn’t happy after Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at home to the Panthers and promised some changes if the team didn’t play better.
“Both teams played extremely hard, but it was nice to see us get the goals here tonight that we haven’t gotten the last three games,” Capuano said. “They got rewarded here tonight for a really good effort.”
Nick Leddy had a goal and two assists, and Jason Chimera also scored for the Islanders. Thomas Greiss made 26 saves.
“It was a good response after Wednesday,” Tavares said. “I was able to find some open ice off some good plays by my teammates and you want to take advantage of those.”
Tavares’ second goal gave the Islanders a 4-2 lead at 7:50 of the third for his 500th NHL point.
“It’s hard to believe that’s where I’m at. I didn’t really know about it until a couple of days ago,” Tavares said.
Tavares added an empty-net goal with 1:44 left for the hat trick that made the score 5-2.
Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist for the Panthers. Reilly Smith also scored for Florida, Keith Yandle added a pair of assists and Jaromir Jagr recorded his 1,138th NHL assist. Roberto Luongo stopped 37 shots.
“It was a rough game all around,” Luongo said. “They were hungry, they got called out by their coach, they wanted it more.”
The Panthers won their past two games on the road but have lost six of their past eight home games.
“We just didn’t play good, they played really good in the first five minutes,” Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe said. “We got back in it, but it’s not the way you want to start off a game at home.”
Trailing 3-1, the Panthers made the score 3-2 on the power-play when Smith took a shot from the point that got by Greiss with 18:18 left in the third.
The Islanders scored two goals on their first two shots in a span of 1:26 in the first. Chimera put the Islanders ahead 1-0 when he backhanded in a rebound under Luongo’s pads at 2:22.
Tavares’ first goal made it 2-0 on a wrist shot from the left circle at 3:48.
The Panthers closed to 2-1 after Trocheck took a pass from behind the net by Jagr in front of the crease and swept it past Greiss at 9:55 of the first. The goal was Trocheck’s team-leading 13th and 50th career goal.
The Islanders stretched their lead to 3-1 on Leddy’s goal when he fired a shot from the side boards above the left circle that went over Luongo’s right shoulder at 16:06 of the second.
The Panthers killed off a full two-minute 5-on-3 penalty midway through the second period, and again for 1:25 in the third.
NOTES: Panthers C Aleksander Barkov is “week-to-week” with an undisclosed injury, according to Rowe. Barkov has missed eight games. ... Rowe says that F Jonathan Huberdeau, who was hurt in the last preseason game, won’t return until March, at the earliest. ... Jagr has 10 points in his last 12 games. ... The Islanders have played four of their past five on the road. They have games at Carolina and Boston before returning home to face Dallas on Jan. 19.
Islanders: Visits Carolina on Saturday.
Panthers: Hosts Columbus on Saturday.