NY Islanders 3, Florida 2
Sunday, April 9, 2000
UNIONDALE, New York (Ticker) -- Mariusz Czerkawski recorded his first
hat trick in more than three years as the New York Islanders averted
the worst home record in club history with a 3-2 victory over the
Czerkawski scored a pair of power-play goals in the second period and
completed his first hat trick since February 19, 1997 at 7:13 of the
"First of all, there couldn't be a better way to end the season
unless we made the playoffs," Czerkawski said. "The first one was
lucky. I really wasn't expecting to get three goals but (the third
goal) ended up being the winning goal, which makes me feel better."
New York finished with a 10-26-5 record at home, avoiding its worst
ever. The 1972-73 Islanders went 10-25-4 at Nassau Coliseum.
The Panthers finished the regular season with 98 points and will be
the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, meeting the New
Jersey Devils in the first round. Florida was 1-3 against New Jersey
this season, including an overtime loss on Saturday.
"They (the Devils) are a veteran team. Experience is very important,"
Panthers left wing Ray Whitney said. "Nothing compensates for that in
the playoffs. I think we can play a little physical, too. I think
it's a good challenge. It's not really fun to play them. It's a real
boring game but it's my job to score goals."
Claude Lapointe added a pair of assists for the Islanders, who were
last in the Atlantic Division with 58 points for the second straight
"We felt if we could win tonight it would be the same amount of wins
last year," Islanders coach Butch Goring said. "It's a tremendous
accomplishment considering we are a young and inexperienced club.
It's a real nice stepping stone."
Florida right wing Pavel Bure fell short in his quest for the scoring
title but netted his 58th goal to capture the Maurice Richard Trophy.
He concluded the campaign with 94 points while Pittsburgh's Jaromir
Jagr has 96. Jagr could add to his total tonight at Boston.
"It does amaze me. It took me almost two years to get back," said
Bure, who held out last season with Vancouver before being traded to
Bure opened the scoring at 8:18 of the second, taking a beautiful no-
look pass from Oleg Kvasha just to the right of the net and one-
timing a shot past goaltender Roberto Luongo.
The Islanders knotted the contest with 7:32 left in the period while
on the power play. From along the goal line, Czerkawski threw the
puck in front and it deflected off defenseman Robert Svehla's skate
and behind goalie Trevor Kidd.
Czerkawski scored his 34th goal at 14:08, putting the Islanders ahead
for good. He fired a slapper from the right point and Kidd was
screened in front.
Czerkawski finished off his third career hat trick with 12:47
remaining, taking a pass from Brad Isbister in the slot and flipping
a shot over Kidd's left shoulder.
Florida's Mike Sillinger completed the scoring with a power-play
tally with 7:05 to play.
Luongo made 29 saves and completed his rookie season with a 7-14-1
Updated Sun Apr 9 4:11 PM ET