UNIONDALE, NY— Two goals in 55 seconds sent Islanders fans scurrying from the Nassau Coliseum before the third period’s final minute was complete. The exodus came after jeers greeted the Islanders leaving the ice at the second intermission after Florida scored twice off breakaways.
Dwayne Roloson was pulled after the fifth goal. The Panthers torched the Islanders goalie for those five goals on just 23 shots. The Isles have now lost four of its last five but Roloson attributed the blowout to the looming home-and-home series against the Rangers starting Wednesday night
at Madison Square Garden.
“To be completely honest I just think we were a team that forgot we were playing tonight and looking forward to the Rangers games,” Roloson said. “Just from the beginning of the game to the end, it was just one of those games.”
It was also a
game where the stats didn’t tell the story. The clubs
each turned the puck over 11 times, though the Panthers capitalized on the mistakes. Florida twice took the puck away from defensemen to initiate one-on-one chances against Roloson, who fell to 10-5-5.
The Islanders and Rangers entered Tuesday locked in a three-way tie for third in the five-team Atlantic Division with 31 points. The Rangers have struggled recently as well, going 3-5-2 in its last 10 games.
Roloson said his team needed to rebuild quickly after Florida bombarded the Islanders into giving up a season-high in goals. Tonight’s game
marks the first of three games in 10 days against the local rival. John Tavares scored the key insurance goal in the Islanders 3-1 win against the Rangers at home Oct. 28 in the first meeting.
“It’s on each individual in this locker room to respond,” Roloson said. “We have to be embarrassed but confident that we’re going to go out and play a good hockey game Wednesday night.”