Aleksander Barkov had his third career hat trick, leading the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 24 saves and Eastern Conference-leading Florida extended its win streak to 11 games. Jonathan Huberdeau added three assists.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Sebastion Aho scored for New York, and Ilya Sorokin made 39 saves in his fifth straight start as the Islanders fell for the second straight game.
Barkov completed the hat trick 20 seconds into the overtime session when he beat Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri in a race and pushed a backhand past Sorokin. It was the Panthers captain’s 37th goal of the season, a career high.
Get South Florida local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC South Florida newsletters.
“That’s why he’s our captain. He’s a great player, and he shows it every night,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said. “You appreciate how great how great of a player he is.”
Barkov knotted the score at 2-all when he beat Sorokin for the second time with a wrist shot at 16:02 of the third period. Barkov’s initial shot created a scramble in front and the puck eventually squirted back out to the Finnish center. Radko Gudas and Huberdeau assisted on the tying goal.
“We’ve done it a lot this year, we know how to come back,” Barkov said. “We know how to handle that pressure. We know we have enough skill to score goals. … We pressured them till the end of the game and then pretty much whole game we played in their zone, we had chances and we got the got the result.”
The Islanders gained a 2-1 advantage when Pageau buried a pretty pass from Mathew Barzal on the power play at 1:01 of the third period. New York’s aggressive forecheck to start the final frame forced MacKenzie Weegar to take a delay-of-game penalty and led to the Islanders opportunity on the man-advantage. Noah Dobson also assisted.
“We’re building a culture,” Barzal said. “No matter what the circumstances are, we’re going play hard and we’re building towards something bigger than this season."
Weegar took another costly penalty late in the third period that ended a Panthers power-play opportunity. He also received a 10-minute misconduct for slamming his stick against the glass on his way to the penalty box.
Barkov evened the score at 1-1 when he notched his 35th goal of the season and 11th on the power play at 14:12 of the second period. The Panthers' captain cleverly snuck a wrist shot from the point while Sam Reinhart screened Sorokin. Claude Giroux and Jonathan Huberdeau assisted.
“I think anybody in the world that’s watching our games would love to be on the same line with Huberdeau and Giroux,” Barkov said. “That's a dream come true. We like to play with each other, we like to make plays, just the one thing is that someone needs to shoot the puck.”
Florida outshot New York 17-12 in the middle period.
Aho opened the scoring at 4:56 of the second period with his second of the season. The 26-year-old sent a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Bobrovsky after receiving a beautiful cross-ice pass from Andy Greene. Kieffer Bellows also assisted in his fourth straight appearance in the lineup following a stretch of six games in which the 2016 first-round pick was a healthy scratch.
“It’s always fun to score or contribute to the team,” Aho said. “Of course it feels good, but it would have felt better with the win tonight, but at least at one point.”
Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom was scratched for a second straight game.
REMEMBERING MIKE BOSSY
The New York Islanders honored Hall of Fame forward Mike Bossy with a video tribute and a moment of silence prior to puck drop Tuesday. The four-time Stanley Cup champion died on April 15 after a battle with lung cancer. Bossy was selected by the Islanders in the first round of the 1977 NHL draft and finished his career with 573 goals, 22nd all-time in NHL history. Only two players reached 500 goals in fewer games, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. The seven-time All Star had his number retired by the Islanders on March 3, 1992.
Islanders: Host New York Rangers on Thursday
Panthers: Host the Detroit Red wins on Thursday in the opener of a three-game homestand.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports