The Florida Panthers, who had been dusted after a toothless performance in Tuesday's second game, had dug out their canines in Finnish time on Wednesday night.
Florida knocked out the Islanders 3–2 and narrowed the three-win playoff qualifier round to 1–2.
Erik Haula, who traded to Florida on the transfer line at the end of February, opened his goal line in his new team at the start of the second round and took his team to the top with a 1-0 lead.
The Islanders evened out during the same set, but the Panthers, who found a different fighting look, did not give up. Mike Hoffman fired Captain Aleksander Barkov’s re-lead into Florida immediately after the opening round opening minute, and Bryan Boyle increased the lead just a few minutes later.
The Islanders made the game even tighter by narrowing it to 2-3 just over a couple of minutes before the end. It held the last minute at the end of Florida, but the herd of panthers lasted and managed to celebrate the opening victory of the series.
Haula in particular was at the forefront of the match, as in addition to his goal, the Finnish center undercut a couple of important blocks and sacrificed his own goal.
The fourth encounter in the match series is scheduled for Friday.