4 years ago, the Islanders got a playoff series win that was a long time coming for the hockey team coming out of Long Island, and it came against the Florida Panthers. Now, the Islanders once again achieve dominance over Florida with another historic mark that also hasn’t been seen in quite a while.
The Islanders started off the Qualifying Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a 7-seed playing against the 10-seed Florida Panthers. New York took the first 2 games of the best-of-5 series with a 2-1 win in Game 1 and a 4-2 win in Game 2. In Game 3, after a 1-1 tie to start the 3rd period, costly mistakes by Varlamov and the Islanders allowed two Panthers goals and despite a late 3rd-period goal, Florida held on for a 3-2 win in Game 3, giving them life. But when Game 4 came, the Islanders would take control right from the start with the first two goals of the game, then scoring three straight after giving up a late 1st-period PPG to Mike Hoffman.
Anthony Beauvillier had two goals in the game, both of them in the first period, followed by Brock Nelson’s PPG in the 2nd period, then Mathew Barzal hit his first goal of the postseason, then Jean-Gabriel Pageau got the empty-net goal to ice the series. Semyon Varlamov bounced back after a dreadful 3rd period in Game 3 that included a penalty on him for delay of game. The Panthers made 25 shots on goal, and Varlamov saved all but one of them, including one shot midway through the game that was ultimately deflected by Ryan Pulock.
The Islanders once again defeat the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and achieve a historic mark along with it. In the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Islanders Round 1 win over Florida in Game 6 broke the Islanders’ 23-year streak without a playoff series win. With their most recent playoff series win, the Islanders achieve a playoff series win in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the ’84 and ’85 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Despite Johnny Boychuk being out for the 3rd straight game, the Islanders were able to go 2-1 in the last 3 games without him after his absence in Round 2 of the Playoffs last season proved to be disastrous when they were swept by the Carolina Hurricanes, who have also advanced to the Round of 16 this season after sweeping the New York Rangers. With the Islanders capturing this win and having time off before the Round of 16 begins, this could prove to be a major handicap for Boychuk as he’ll have time to recover from his head injury before the Islanders return to action.
With the series win, the Islanders will advance to the Round of 16 with their opponent and Game 1 date still to be determined as the Eastern Conference Round-Robin games are still taking place with the battle for the top seed in the Eastern Conference to be determined Friday night between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.