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Hickey nets OT winner as Islanders take 2-1 series lead over Panthers

The New York Islanders scored three unanswered to erase a 3-1 deficit and edge the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Sunday night.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The New York Islanders scored three unanswered to erase a 3-1 deficit and edge the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Sunday night.

Thomas Hickey scored the overtime winner at 12:31 of the extra period. With the win, the Islanders take a 2-1 series lead.

Hickey one-timed a Brock Nelson feed past Roberto Luongo for his first of the series.

Hickey also scored the last overtime winner for the Islanders on April 5 against the Washington Capitals to help New York clinch its second straight playoff berth.

The Islanders defenceman called the coach's challenge, which was the work of video coach Matt Bertani, the turning point of the game.

Aaron Ekblad thought he’d given the Panthers a 3-0 lead at 4:07 of the second period, but a coach’s challenge showed Jonathan Huberdeau was offside prior to the goal.

"A lot of people probably don't want to hear it (but) the offside challenge was huge for us," said Hickey. "We're down 3-0, the game's not over, if that goal is allowed. But it's no goal, a bunch of momentum, we get a goal right away, we gave one back, but that lifted us up. I think that was huge."

Ryan Pulock got the Islanders on the board with his first career postseason goal at 5:21 of the second. Shane Prince and Frans Nielsen had the other goals for the Islanders, who were playing their first playoff game in Brooklyn. John Tavares and Kyle Okposo each had two assists.

Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots for the win.

Reilly Smith continued his hot start to the post season scoring a goal and setting up two others. Smith now has four goals and four assists in the series. Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad also scored for the Panthers. Barkov led all players with nine shots on goal. Florida has not won a playoff game in overtime since May 12, 1996. Luongo made 35 saves in the loss.

"It's a fine between winning and losing in this league, especially (with) two evenly matched teams," Luongo said. "We were on wrong end."

Game 4 is in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

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