(Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers will try to post consecutive wins for the first time in two months when they host the New York Islanders tonight at BankAtlantic Center.
The Panthers are coming off a victory over visiting Toronto, improving Florida's record to 3-2-1 during a seven-game homestand that ends tonight.
Florida would love to close this residency on a positive note, but the Panthers have been unable to record consecutive wins since a three-game winning streak from Jan. 11-15.
The Panthers and Islanders are sitting 13th and 14th, respectively, in the Eastern Conference standings and both clubs appear headed for another year out of the postseason. Florida is on its way to setting an NHL record for playoff droughts with what would be its 10th straight season out of the playoffs, while New York has missed the postseason in three straight and four of the last five campaigns.
Florida has taken two of three from the Isles this season, but New York recorded a 5-1 rout of the Panthers when the clubs last met on Feb. 21 at Nassau Coliseum. The Panthers have still taken three of four and six of eight overall in the series and New York has lost eight straight and nine of its last 10 in Sunrise.
The Isles' last road victory over the Panthers was on Nov. 18, 2006.
The Panthers played the spoiler role to perfection on Thursday, when they shut out the Maple Leafs, 4-0. Sergei Samsonov ignited a three-goal second period, and Scott Clemmensen made 24 saves to record his first shutout of the season.
Stephen Weiss scored a power-play goal and set up another for the Panthers.
"I was glad for the guys," said Florida head coach Peter DeBoer. "We got a lot of kids up here that are competing real hard and trying to do the right thing."
Florida is 15-15-7 as the host team this season.
The Islanders lost their third straight game on Friday, as they were dealt an overtime loss at Carolina. Joni Pitkanen's goal at 3:58 of OT lifted the Hurricanes to the win at RBC Center.
As time wound down in the extra session, Jeff Skinner gained control of the puck near the goal line, then dished back to the point. Pitkanen stepped into his shot, which zipped over Al Montoya's glove and hit the net just below the crossbar on the far side.
Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner scored for the Islanders, while Montoya made 32 stops in defeat.
"Montoya gave us a chance to win," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "He made some big saves. I thought Ward was excellent tonight."
Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro could be back between the pipes tonight for the first time since early February. DiPietro was activated from injured reserve on Wednesday after missing roughly five weeks with facial fractures suffered in a fight with Pittsburgh netminder Brent Johnson. He served as the backup to Montoya on Friday.
New York Islanders
@ Florida Panthers
Saturday, Mar 19, 2011, 7:00 PM EDT
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