Islanders keep playoff hopes alive with 3-2 win over Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period to help lift the New York Islanders past the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Thursday night.

Ryan Pulock and Mathew Barzal also scored and Casey Cizikas had two assists for New York, which had lost six of its last seven and dropped in the Eastern Conference wild-card standings.

Aleksander Barkov became the first player in Panthers history to reach 700 points with the franchise with his second-period goal. Vladimir Tarasenko and Barkov also scored and Anthony Stolarz made 21 saves for Florida, which has lost eight of nine and missed out on a chance to earn a postseason berth.

The Panthers could still clinch a spot Thursday night if the Detroit Red Wings loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Florida sits two points behind Boston with one game in hand for the top seed in the Atlantic Division.

New York is four points behind Washington for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a lower-body injury.


Islanders: Visit Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

Panthers: Host Detroit on Saturday.