The NY ISLANDERS and the FLORIDA will both be gunning for a victory on 12/4/2017 at 7:35 PM when they meet in a game matchup.
NY ISLANDERS vs FLORIDA
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, December 4, 2017
Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida
|3||NY ISLANDERS||0 (-110)||5.5 -115
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG Plus (New York), FSN Florida
PREDICTION: Panthers 4, Islanders 2
Oddsmakers currently have the NY ISLANDERS listed as -110-moneyline favorites versus the FLORIDA, while the game’s total is sitting at 5.5.
SUNRISE, Fla. — The New York Islanders, who lead the NHL in scoring, expect to go up against one of the league’s all-time great goalies, Roberto Luongo, on Monday night when they face the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center.
The Islanders (15-8-2) are led by center John Tavares, who ranks third in the NHL with 16 goals. His team is first in the league with an average of 3.72 goals per game.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (15-8-2): New York has one more player than Florida with at least 24 points, and the team’s top six scorers all are on hot streaks offensively. Josh Bailey leads the team with 30 points, including 12 in his last eight games, and captain John Tavares is one behind him while Anders Lee has scored four goals in his last three contests and rookie Mathew Barzal has notched 10 of his 24 points over his last eight matches. Defenseman Nick Leddy also has been on a roll with 11 points in his last nine contests while Jordan Eberle is riding a four-game point streak.
And even when the Islanders lose, they usually still score big, as was the case on Friday night when their four-game win streak was snapped in a 6-5 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
“It stings,” New York coach Doug Weight said after that defeat, “but it’s almost a good learning tool.”
Meanwhile, Florida (10-13-3) relies on Luongo, 38, who is aging gracefully. He ranks seventh in the league this season with a .928 save percentage. For his career, he is fourth in league history with 459 wins.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (10-13-3): Barkov scored his third goal in four games Saturday and trails Trocheck (10) by one for the team lead while remaining one point behind Huberdeau (26) for the top spot on the club. With top-line forward Evgenii Dadonov (shoulder) out of the lineup, defenseman Keith Yandle (13) is the only other player on the team with more than 12 points. Nick Bjugstad scored his sixth goal of the campaign on Saturday, pulling within one of his total from 2016-17, when he missed 28 games due to various injuries.
Luongo, who has battled injuries again this season, is 6-6-1 with a 2.62 goals-against average. He has been even better lately, allowing just 18 goals in his past nine games.
This will be Luongo’s first game against the Islanders this season. Last season, he went 2-1-0 with a 2.30 GAA against New York.
Of course, the Islanders’ offense has improved since last season, when they missed the playoffs and averaged 2.91 goals, 10th in the league. They have scored five or more goals 12 times in 25 games this season.
Weight, brought in last January after Jack Capuano was fired, went 24-12-4 last season and has his team off to a good start.
Yet even with all the good things happening with the Islanders, there is turmoil within the organization. Team owners are primed to end their association with Barclays Center, hoping to get a new arena built at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
The other big New York story line involves captain Tavares, 27, who will be a free agent after this season. He is a franchise center and his departure — should it happen — could wreck the Islanders.
That’s why the Monday game — and, frankly, every New York contest — is so important. The Islanders likely need to make a deep playoff run to convince Tavares to stick around past this season.
The Panthers don’t face that kind of pressure. This is shaping up as a rebuilding season under first-year head coach Bob Boughner.
Florida has lost two games in a row, both by one goal. A 3-2 setback at the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday was particularly painful as the Panthers allowed the winning goal with just two seconds left in overtime.
“It was a heartbreaker,” Boughner said after the defeat.
Now the Panthers start a three-game homestand.
Florida center Aleksander Barkov, who scored with 1:56 left in the third period to send the Carolina game to overtime, leads the Panthers’ top line along with Jonathan Huberdeau.
Center Vincent Trocheck and wingers Nick Bjugstad and Radim Vrbata power the second line.
Florida’s Evgenii Dadonov (shoulder) is out at least four weeks, leaving a gaping hole on the front line that is currently being filled by 21-year-old Denis Malgin.
The Islanders’ biggest injury concern is center Casey Cizikas (four goals, four assists). He has missed two games in a row due to a lower-body injury.
1. Florida RW Radim Vrbata has gone two games without a point since returning from a facial injury that caused him to miss almost two weeks.
2. The Islanders placed C Casey Cizikas (lower body) on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 25.
3. Barkov needs four points to become the 13th Panther to reach 200 in his career.
STATS AND RECORDS
STATS AND RECORDS
|1/13/17||NYI 5||FLA 2||42||27||0-6||29||37||1-3|