Ilya Sorokin stops 42 shots, Islanders hold off Panthers 4-3

Anders Lee Brock Nelson Islanders
New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) celebrates scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Michael Laughlin)

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Ilya Sorokin stopped 42 shots, Julien Gauthier scored early in the third period and the New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Saturday.

Brock Nelson and Bo Horvat each had two assists for the Islanders, who were without forward Mathew Barzal because of an illness, and Gauthier also had a two-point night. Sorokin finished with at least 40 saves for the fourth time this season.

Anders Lee, Simon Holmstrom, and Pierre Engvall also scored for the Islanders.

“I thought a lot of people stepped up and that’s what you need,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said of his team’s performance without Barzal. “We responded very well.”

Carter Verhaeghe had a goal and an assist for Florida, which also got goals from Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Reinhart. Anthony Stolarz made 23 saves for the Panthers.

Tkachuk got his first goal in his last 11 games and has just four so far this season.

“I think he had an awful lot of chances at the start of the year that didn’t go in and then it got a little dry,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said. “Most of the lack of point production is from the power play. That’s where the numbers are off; 5-on-5 is pretty darn good.”

The Islanders have won five of their last seven games after losing seven in a row. They have at least one point in eight of their last nine contests.

New York also won on Florida’s ice for the first time in its last four trips to Sunrise. The Islanders had been 0-3-0 in their last three at the Panthers, losing by a combined 14-3 score.

The regulation loss ends a three-game point streak for the Panthers, who returned home from a successful road trip — five points in three games — in Canada. They remain in second place in the Atlantic Division.

Lee opened the scoring 12:36 into the first period, ending Florida’s streak of 26 consecutive penalties killed. The Panthers hadn’t surrendered a power-play goal since Nov. 17 against Anaheim.

Reinhart responded 66 seconds later, scoring his 16th goal of the season. He trails Vancouver’s Brock Boeser (17) for the league lead.

But Engvall and Holmstrom scored for New York in the second, and Gauthier made it 4-2 early in the third.

“He’s great,” Lee said of Gauthier. “I love his speed, love his physicality and we saw a lot of that with him on our line tonight. I think we did a wonderful job of forechecking and creating a lot of things.”

The game ended a stretch where the Islanders played eight of 10 games on the road. They start a six-game homestand Tuesday and will play nine of their next 12 on home ice.

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