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NEW YORK — The last time the New York Islanders hosted the Florida Panthers [url=http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mark-andrews-jersey]Authentic Mark Andrews Jersey[/url] , the Islanders harbored legitimate wild-card hopes and the Panthers appeared to be the longest of long shots to reach the playoffs.

But the roles will be reversed Monday night when the Panthers visit the Islanders at Barclays Center.

The Islanders continued their skid out of the playoff picture Saturday when they fell to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks 3-1.

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The host Panthers kept up their late-season charge Saturday when they scored four goals in the third period to come back and beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2.

The Panthers (38-28-7) have won three of four to move within three points of the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Florida’s bid is aided by the two games it has in hand on the Devils.

Such a scenario would have been hard to envision Jan. 29 when the Panthers arrived at Barclays Center for the first game of the NHL’s second half a whopping 12 points behind in the race for the second wild card. But a 4-1 win over the Islanders jump-started a 26-game stretch in which Florida has gone 19-6-1.

But while the Panthers have put themselves into a better position, they know their margin for error is almost nonexistent.

“Points are points at this part of the season,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner told reporters after a 4-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets last Thursday. “We need to get back on a roll here.”

While things have gone better than the Panthers could have hoped the last eight weeks [url=http://www.Authenticauthorizedshops.com/authentic-tarvarius-moore-jersey]Authentic Tarvarius Moore Jersey[/url] , the season has spiraled far beyond anything the Islanders (31-34-10) could have imagined. New York is 6-14-5 since the All-Star break to fall into last place in the Metropolitan Division.

A loss on Monday will officially eliminate the Islanders from playoff contention.

“I don’t think anyone is too happy with where we’re at,” Islanders left winger Ross Johnston told Newsday. “I think the last three or four games, it was a long shot to get in (to the playoffs) by all means.

“We’re going to go out and we’re going to compete. Florida is still in the hunt. We’re going to try to play the spoiler role as best we can and continue with a strong effort.”

The Islanders and Panthers both have goaltending situations in flux and neither one revealed a possible starter for Monday.

Jaroslav Halak would appear to be in line to make the start for the Islanders after taking the loss Saturday [url=http://www.tampabaybuccaneersteamonline.com/ryan-jensen-jersey]Wholesale Ryan Jensen Jersey[/url] , when he stopped 22 shots against the Blackhawks.

Halak, an impending free agent, was ceding playing time to rookie Christopher Gibson [url=http://www.bearsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-james-daniels-jersey]Authentic James Daniels Jersey[/url] , who has started five of the last eight games but was chased Thursday after giving up six goals in a little more than 1 1/2 periods to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
With Panthers starting goalie Roberto Luongo day to day because of an upper-body injury, backup James Reimer could draw his second straight start. Reimer posted the win Saturday with 26 saves against the Coyotes.

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