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(Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders put the Florida Panthers on their heels with goals from Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anthony Beauvillier.

The New York Islanders are off and running—well, skating, but you get the idea. The Isles kept the Florida Panthers pinned back in their own zone for much of the first 10 minutes of the game, but couldn’t muster that first goal.

That was until Jean-Gabriel Pageau decided to take matters into his own hands.

Team president Lou Lamoriello acquired Pageau at the trade deadline for exactly this reason. The Isles are stout defensively but lacked the scoring punch needed for a deep run into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The early returns on Pageau are encouraging.

Although the Isles took the early lead, the Panthers aren’t going away. Although the Isles dominated time of possession and imposed their will for most of the period, a one-goal lead is never safe—especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs—or Qualifying Round in this case.

The fun continued in the second period with Anthony Beauvillier picking up where Pageau left off.


Despite one hiccup at the start of the third period, the Isles were able to hold off the Panthers and win with a gritty performance. This is the formula they need to use to win this series—stout defense in front of a steady goaltender. Semyon Varlamov made all the plays he needed to make, stopping 27 of 28 shots faced.

All it takes is two more and the Isles are through the Qualifying Round. Game 2 will go down on Tuesday (12 p.m. ET).

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.