Islanders defeat Panthers in Game 2 of Cup Qualifiers, extend series lead


Jordan Eberle scored twice and the New York Islanders used three unanswered goals to defeat the Florida Panthers 4-2 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Tuesday.

Matt Martin and Ryan Pulock scored, and Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves to give New York, the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series.

Mike Hoffman and Aleksander Barkov scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves for Florida, the No. 10 seed in the East. 

Game 3 is in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, on Wednesday (noon ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, TVAS, FS-F, MSG+). 

Teams with a 2-0 lead are 55-1 (98.2 percent) winning a best-of-5 NHL series (39-1 when last used from 1980-86). The Islanders defeated the Washington Capitals in a 1985 series.

Eberle scored on the power play by tipping Anthony Beauvillier‘s one-timer from the left circle to make it 4-2 at 10:29 of the third period. He put the Islanders ahead 3-2 at 16:27 of the second with a shot from the left circle after a cross-ice pass from Pulock. 

Pulock tied it 2-2 on the man-advantage with a one-timer at 13:48 of the second. 

Barkov gave Florida a 2-1 lead with a wrist shot from the left circle for a power-play goal at 7:54 of the second.  

Hoffman gave the Panthers their first lead of the series at 11:16 of the first period with a wrist shot from outside the left circle that went between Varlamov’s skates to make it 1-0. 

Martin tied it at 6:12 of the second when he put a shot past Bobrovsky at the top of the crease after a between-the-legs feed from Tom Kuhnhackl to make it 1-1.  

Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk was unfit to play after an illegal check to the head from Mike Matheson in Game 1. Boychuk was replaced by Andy Greene.  

Panthers forward Aleksi Saarela and defenseman Brady Keeper each made his series debut after being a healthy scratch for Game 1. They replaced forward Dominic Toninato and defenseman Riley Stillman. Forward Lucas Wallmark did not play for the second straight game.

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