Mike Hoffman scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and the Florida Panthers stayed alive in their Eastern Conference best-of-five play-in series with a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders on Wednesday afternoon in Toronto.
New York leads the series 2-1, with Game 4 set for Friday.
Hoffman added an assist and the Panthers also got goals from Erik Haula and Brian Boyle. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 20 saves after losing the first two games of this series.
New York, which got goals from Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brock Nelson and 19 saves from Semyon Varlamov, had beaten Florida six straight times entering Wednesday.
Before the game, the Panthers benched forwards Frank Vatrano and Colton Sceviour. Neither had a goal or an assist during the first two games of this series, and they combined for a plus-minus rating of minus-three.
However, prior to Wednesday, neither had missed a Panthers game this season, combining for 50 points (34 for Vatrano, 16 for Sceviour).
After a scoreless first period, the Islanders got hit with a penalty for too many men on the ice. The Panthers, whose power play had been just 1-for-5 to that point, cashed in this time on the goal by Haula with 15:58 left in the second period. Evgenii Dadonov's pass to Haula, after a Hoffman shot was blocked, set up the play.
New York tied the score with 3:34 left in the second. A bad pass by Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov in his own end gave the Isles possession. Anthony Beauvillier dumped the puck in, chased it down past Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman and then fired a perfect centering pass to Pageau, who scored as a trailer on the rush.
Varlamov made a big mistake just seven seconds into the third period as he was penalized for playing the puck outside the trapezoid. The Panthers' suddenly hot power play gave them a 2-1 lead just 34 seconds later as Hoffman unloaded a high and heavy one-timer from the right circle. Keith Yandle earned the primary assist with his set-up pass.
Florida quickly took a 3-1 lead with just 2:48 elapsed in the third. With the Panthers on the rush, Aaron Ekblad's shot was blocked. However, New York's Devon Toews failed in his soft clearing attempt. Boyle, trailing the play down the middle of the ice, picked up the loose puck and beat Varlamov with a floater.
New York closed its deficit to 3-2 with just 1:27 left on a puck that bounced in off the skates of Ekbad. Nelson was credited with the goal.
--Field Level Media