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Tomas Vokoun and the Florida Panthers shut down the New York Islanders 2-0

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Tomas Vokoun and the Florida Panthers shut down the New York Islanders 2-0

The Canadian Press
By:

SUNRISE, Fla. - Thomas Vokoun knew he needed to raise his game after being battered by the Minnesota Wild.

Given another chance against the New York Islanders, he was.

Vokoun, an NHL all-star last season, bounced back from a rough loss to post his 26th NHL shutout. He made 31 saves Saturday night in a 2-0 victory over the Islanders.

The veteran goalie allowed five goals on 23 shots in a 6-2 defeat to Minnesota on Thursday.

"I'm not the kind of guy that should be worried about his play," Vokoun said. "Obviously I am one of the highest-paid players on the team so my performance has to be better and I know that."

Nick Boynton and Cory Stillman scored for the Panthers, who won all four meetings between the teams last season. New York's Rick DiPietro shook off Boynton's goal just 24 seconds into the game and was effective in his first start of the season, making 34 saves.

"We probably deserved more than two goals," Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. "I thought he made some big saves and we just missed a few more."

DiPietro, the Islanders' No. 1 goalie, saw his first action of the season after dressing as the backup in New York's opening four games while recovering from off-season knee surgery.

"I felt good," DiPietro said. "It's nice to, obviously, be back and contribute. Unfortunately, we lost, obviously, but nice to get my feet wet and finally see some action."

Florida (2-2) outshot New York 36-31. The Islanders (2-3) have scored one goal or fewer in each of their three losses.

"It was nice to follow up probably our worst effort of the year with maybe our best," DeBoer said.

Boynton opened the scoring with a slapshot from the right circle that beat DiPietro after a drive by Keith Ballard deflected off the post.

"I close my eyes and shoot," Boynton said. "I know where the net is, but I just got lucky."

Boynton, not known for his offence, has scored in back-to-back games after netting only scoring three goals in 79 games last season.

"If I can score goals, I will take it," Boynton said.

The Panthers were unable to take advantage of three power-play opportunities in the first period.

However, they were able to strike during a second-period advantage following a tripping penalty on Islanders defenceman Freddy Meyer. Cory Stillman passed the puck to Nathan Horton in the slot, who immediately passed it back to Stillman near the right circle. Stillman beat DiPietro with a wrist shot to the stick side to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.

"Power plays were 5-1 after two periods," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "You're going to give up shots on the power play, it doesn't matter how good you kill penalties. Again, it's another night where we get all these penalties against us. It puts us on our heels."

It was the second goal of the season for Stillman, who signed with Florida as a free agent during the off-season.

"We forecheck well, so a lot of time we have the puck and that's a big difference from last year where we were always on defence," Vokoun said.

Trent Hunter, who leads the Islanders with four goals, had a scoring opportunity with five minutes remaining in the game, but Vokoun calmly corralled the wrist shot to preserve the shutout.

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Tomas Vokoun and the Florida Panthers shut down the New York Islanders 2-0