(The Sports Xchange) - Kyle Okposo scored the tie-breaking goal with 17:27 left in the third period as the New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers 5-4 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Thursday.
The Islanders rallied from three deficits, getting tying scores from Brock Nelson, Frans Nielsen and John Tavares. The fifth goal was scored by Ryan Strome, who pounced on a rebound with 13:59 left.
On the tie-breaking goal, Tavares stole the puck from Florida defenseman Brian Campbell and fed to Okposo.
Tavares, who led the Islanders with 33 goals in the regular season, was brilliant against Florida, posting one goal and two assists.
Reilly Smith scored twice for Florida. His second goal, which came with 13:04 left in the third period, closed New York’s lead to 5-4.
Florida’s other goals came from Teddy Purcell and Jussi Jokinen. Florida right winger Jaromir Jagr, who has just one goal in his past 34 playoff games, did not get a point.
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is set for Friday.
Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, who made his first career playoff start, got the win with 42 saves.
Veteran Roberto Luongo took the loss and now has a career playoff record of 32-32. He had 21 saves.
It took 1:55 for Florida to score the first goal as Purcell, skating on the right wing, took a perfect cross-ice pass from Jiri Hudler and beat Greiss.
New York tied the score less than five minutes later as Ryan Strome dug the puck out of the corner at center ice and fed Nelson, who skated alone on Luongo, beating him high.
With 6:09 left in the first period, Florida went ahead 2-1 on a power-play goal by Jokinen, who tipped in a shot from the point by defenseman Brian Campbell.
New York tied it less than three minutes later on a power-play goal by Nielsen.
The Islanders, 0-for-7 vs. the Panthers during the regular season on their power play, broke through thanks to a sensational juke move by Tavares, who fed Nielsen on the left side.
Nielsen beat Luongo high to his stick side.
Florida needed only 1:35 of the second period to take a 3-2 lead on Smith’s rebound goal. Florida center Nick Bjugstad started the sequence by winning a faceoff, and assists went to Alex Petrovic and Jokinen.
New York came back again, tying the score 3-3 with 22 seconds left in the second period on a goal by Tavares.