Smith Stays Hot to Help Panthers Even Up Series

Reilly Smith had a goal and an assist in Friday's win to help the Panthers tie up the series

The Florida Panthers evened up the series with a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders on Friday.

Reilly Smith's big start to the playoffs continued with a goal and an assist in this one. After collecting three points in the first game of the series, Smith now has five points through just two games.

Florida's first goal of the game came at the 4:32 mark of the first period. Smith who scored twice in game one, added another with his third goal of the series. Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau assisted on Smith's go-ahead score.

The Panthers would score again at the 6:17 mark of the second period when Bjugstad put home his first goal of the series. The goal had an assist on it from Smith and Dmitry Kulikov.

Florida would add an empty net goal with nine seconds left to put the game away. The goal was scored by Kulikov with an assist from Aleksander Barkov.

There was some question if Al Montoya would be in the net for this one, after a tough game for Roberto Luongo on Thursday. Head coach Gerard Gallant stuck with his starting goalie however and Luongo answered the call.

Luongo who had carried Florida for much of the season stopped all but one of the 42 attempts that were sent his way. it was an important game for Luongo after New York put five goals past him just one day earlier. If Luongo had struggled again, it is possible that Montoya could have been in the net for the next game.

The Panthers only had one power play and did not convert during it. Florida's penalty kills were strong in the win however, as it stopped all three power plays that New York had.

The series will resume on Sunday from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York at 8 p.m.

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