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Florida Panthers Plug Holes, Beat Islanders 4-2

Heading to the airport in a bit, off to Montreal.

Forgot to post my small game story last night.



The Panthers weren't completely depleted on Saturday night, but did face the Islanders down two regular forwards as David Booth was traded to Vancouver earlier in the evening and Sean Bergenheim is still hurt. 

Even losing starting goalie Jose Theodore to a cramping issue before the third period didn't keep them from breaking out of their funk.

Tim Kennedy, essentially filling in for Bergenheim, scored the game-winning goal not long after Jacob Markstrom took over in net and helped the Panthers to a 4-2 win at BankAtlantic Center.

Markstrom, who came in to start the third, made 18 saves in relief and picked up his first NHL victory in his third appearance. 

Markstrom was put to the test in the end as the Islanders had an extended power play. The 21-year-old stood strong and held on, Shawn Matthias' empty netter after getting out of the box sealing the win.

The Panthers, who had been shutout in their previous two games by 3-0 scores to Washington and Buffalo, trailed 1-0 when Mark Streit scored on a power play 1:01 into the game.

Just over a minute later, Tomas Kopecky failed to tie things up when his penalty shot was stopped by former Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

Florida finally broke its scoreless streak midway through the period when Kris Versteeg's shot got past Nabokov with 5:21 remaining. 

Prior to that goal – Versteeg's team-leading fourth – the Panthers hadn't scored in 1 hour, 17 minutes 52 seconds. Florida's hadn't put a puck in since Jason Garrison got the last of the scoring in Monday's 7-4 win at Tampa Bay.

The Panthers made it 2-1 in the second period when Matt Bradley – who fought Matt Martin earlier – scored his first goal with his new team off a nice feed from Matthias. 

Matthias, who is trying to keep his roster spot with the new additions (and Mike Santorelli getting healthy), got a second assist when he fed Kennedy slicing in front of the net for a 3-2 lead with 16:00 left in the third. Matthias hadn't recorded a point prior to Saturday.

-- Coach Kevin Dineen said that Bergenheim's injury is more serious than previously thought as he has now missed three games and may not make this week's trip to Canada.

Injured center Mike Santorelli is getting closer and will travel. Dineen also said that goalie Scott Clemmensen is a few weeks away from returning and will not be with the team.

“We're going to give him some more time to work on his core,'' Dineen said of Bergenheim. “We don't want to rush him.''