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Wednesday October 8, 2008 2:42 pm

Panthers Trounce Islanders In Pre-Season Match-up

Horton Scores Against DiPietro

The New York Islanders are stumbling to the starting gate of the 2008/2009 NHL season. Last night they endured a 6-0 loss to the Florida Panthers. Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun looked to be in mid-season form, blocking each one of the 29 attempted shots on goal. Goals for the Panthers were scored by Anthony Stewart, Kamil Kreps, Rostislav Olesz , Jay Bouwmeester, Brett McLean and Nathan Horton. Left winger Ville Peltonen pitched in as well, notching three assists.

Islanders fans: Are you nervous yet? Rick DiPietro, the centerpiece of this 2009/2009 Isles squad, allowed six goals in his first pre-season appearance last night. There is no doubt that this Islanders team has major deficiencies, but they simply will not be able to win on a consistent basis if DiPietro is not healthy and at the top of his game. Two years removed from a massive 15 year contract, DiPietro has run into all sorts of health problems. In 2007, DiPi had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Rick had two additional surgeries performed in 2008; one for his hip, the other for his knee. With Wade Dubielewicz now playing hockey in Russia, the Islanders no longer have a strong backup goalie to limit the damage when DiPietro is injured. If this game was a sign of things to come, it may not wind up being a memorable season for the New York Islanders.

Meanwhile, everything went as planned on the Panthers front. Florida has scored three or more goals in each of their wins this pre-season (ending their pre-season at 3-2-2). The Panthers have plenty of talent (look for big years from Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss, and David Booth), but have not been able to finish a season above third place in the Southeast Division since the 1999-2000 season. This year, they may have a shot to give the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals a more legitimate run for their money.

Gallery: Panthers Trounce Islanders In Pre-Season Match-up



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