SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) — Rick DiPietro’s return did nothing
to help spark the New York Islanders.
Defenseman Nick Boynton scored for the second time in as many
games and Tomas Vokoun stopped 31 shots to record his first
shutout of the season as the Florida Panthers notched a 2-0
victory over the Islanders on Saturday.
Cory Stillman also tallied for Florida, which rebounded from an
embarrassing 6-2 loss to a shorthanded Minnesota team on
Thursday. Vokoun stopped 12 shots in both the first and second
periods and seven in the third for his 26th career blanking.
It was a 180-degree turn for Vokoun, who was pulled after two
periods on Thursday.
“It was a good performance, especially after that game (against
Minnesota) the other night,” Vokoun said. “I wasn’t satisfied
with that result and came out tonight better focused.”
“It was nice to follow up with probably what was our worst
effort of the year with maybe our best,” Florida coach Peter
DeBoer said. “It was really important (to bounce back). The
guys responded in the right way.”
While Vokoun was on his game, DiPietro was rusty in his first
start of the season. The franchise goaltender sat on the bench
the first four games while recovering from offseason knee and
Joey MacDonald went 2-2-0 with a 3.50 goals-against average in
“It’s tough to take much positive out of it,” DiPietro said. “I
played decent, and there are things I can build on. It was good
to be in there and seeing live action again.”
DiPietro made some solid saves, including a stop on Radek Dvorak
on a breakaway in the second period, but overall did not play
like the netminder who received a record 15-year, $67.5 million
contract in 2006.
Still, his return did not energize the Islanders, who have
scored one goal or less in each of their three losses.
“He played well enough for us to win,” New York’s Doug Weight
said. “The onus is on us in this room to get that
“Right now, we’re too one-dimensional,” Islanders first-year
coach Scott Gordon said. “You can’t point to anything going
well. We haven’t had a lot of consistency.”
Florida, which swept the season series in 2007-08, needed only
24 seconds to get the first meeting of this campaign off to a
positive start. Boynton grabbed a rebound near the top of the
right faceoff circle and blasted a shot into the far corner of
the net for the early advantage.
The 27-year-old DiPietro made several nice saves to keep the
deficit at one, but Stillman scored a power-play goal at 8:58 of
the second to double the advantage.
Nathan Horton took a pass in the slot and sent the puck to
Stillman, who ripped a wrister from the bottom of the left
circle past DiPietro and into the top left corner.
“Everyone contributed,” Stillman said. “That’s the way we have
to play night in and night out.”
Stillman almost came through with his second goal three minutes
into the third, but DiPietro robbed him with an outstretched
glove save on a shot from point-blank range.
DiPietro stopped 34 shots for New York, which went 0-for-2 on
the power play. Meanwhile, Florida was 1-for-6 with the man
“Their goalie made some big saves out there tonight,” DeBoer
said. “He kept them in the game.”