Hickey's OT winner gives Isles 2-1 series lead

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 18, 2016 12:07 AM

SEOUL (Reuters) - Thomas Hickey scored with 7:29 left in overtime Sunday night as the New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at Barclays Center.

The Islanders lead the best-of-seven series two games to one. Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday night at Barclays Center.

Rookie Ryan Pulock scored his first career playoff goal for the Islanders, who also received goals from Shane Prince and Frans Nielsen. Goalie Thomas Greiss recorded 36 saves.

Reilly Smith scored the Panthers' first goal and also finished with two assists. He has eight points in the three games.

Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad also scored for the Panthers. Goalie Roberto Luongo made 35 saves.

Hickey's goal--in which he took a pass from Brock Nelson from behind the net-- brought an end to a chaotic game filled with wild momentum swings. After the Panthers scored the lone goal in the first period, the two teams combined for five goals in the second before a scoreless third.

The Panthers went ahead just 2:25 into the first period when Smith capped an extended sequence in the Islanders' zone. Alex Petrovic's shot from the faceoff circle was deflected by Greiss and bounced to the right of the net, where Bjugstad whiffed as he tried to put back the rebound. But the puck skittered to Smith, who fired a shot past a sprawling Greiss for his fourth goal of the series.

Smith helped create the Panthers' second goal just 1:11 into a wild second. His shot sailed past the net and bounced off the boards to Barkov, who fired a shot past a stick-less Greiss.

A third goal was overturned at 3:47, when Barkov maneuvered the puck behind the net before passing to Ekblad, whose shot sailed past a diving Frans Nielsen and under Greiss' right shoulder. But Islanders head coach Jack Capuano used his replay challenge and it was determined Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau was offside on the play.

The Islanders capitalized just 94 seconds later. Penalties on Petrovic (interference) and Jussi Jokinen in a span of 25 seconds created a 5-on-3 for New York, which cut the lead in half when Pulock's sizzling slap shot sailed past Luongo.

The Panthers went ahead 3-1 on a heads-up play by Bjugstad, who swooped into the crease as he followed a shot by Smith. His skate hit the puck and bounced off the post, after which Bjugstad tapped the puck into the corner of the net.

The Islanders tied it with two goals in a span of 5:07. First, Prince scored after crossing in front of Luongo, taking a perfectly placed pass from Pulock and sent a shot soaring past Luongo.

Nielsen scored 43 seconds after Dmitry Kulikov was whistled for clipping Matt Martin. Nielsen was racing in towards Luongo when he took a pass from John Tavares and backhanded it into the net.