UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Kris Versteeg, Tomas Fleischmann, Tyson Strachan and Jack Skille scored to lift the Florida Panthers to a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders on Sunday.
Florida’s Jose Theodore made 26 saves in his first appearance since Jan. 20 after suffering a knee injury.
The Panthers’ quick-strike offense supported Theodore with two goals off faceoffs and four unanswered goals overall to erase a 1-0 deficit.
Frans Nielsen scored the Islanders’ goal on the team’s first shot at 3:35 of the first.
Fleischmann and Versteeg each finished with two points.
Strachan notched his first career goal in the first and Fleischmann, Versteeg and Skille scored three goals in a 14:16 span in the second period to turn a tie game into a 4-1 advantage heading into the final period.
The Panthers swept a set of back-to-back games for the first time in nine attempts this season after defeating the New Jersey Devils on the road Saturday.
Florida remained in sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division — and third place in the conference with 65 points.
New York lost an opportunity to pick up points for the sixth time in seven games and trails Toronto by eight points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Making his fourth start in six days, Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov allowed three goals on six shots in the second and made just 11 saves on 15 shots total before being lifted for backup Al Montoya to start the third.
Fleischmann tipped in Versteeg’s pass from the left post for his 18th goal to break a 1-all tie 4:17 into the second.
Versteeg tied a career high with his 22nd goal on a right circle wrister on a power-play goal at 11:41.
Tomas Kopecky screened Nabokov as Versteeg’s shot beat him on the high glove-side.
The 36-year-old Nabokov entered the game having allowed only five goals on 135 shots in five games since the All-Star break.
But he allowed his fourth goal of the game with 1:27 left in the second on Skille’s goal off a draw.
New York came out hot when Nielsen converted PA Parenteau’s pass for a goal less than four minutes in.
But Strachan’s right-point slap shot off Marcel Goc’s faceoff win tied it at 14:57. Goc has three assists in his past two games.
Notes: Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison did not play after suffering a lower-body injury in Saturday’s game at New Jersey. … Fleischmann’s goal marked his 200th career point. … Brian Campbell added an assist for his 350th career point. … Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald recorded a point in consecutive games for the first time this season. … Former Islanders and Panthers general manager Bill Torrey was in attendance.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.