SUNRISE, Fla. — A few quick notes on the Isles’ opponent ahead of Game 1:
— No surprises with the Panthers’ lineup for Thursday night. Vincent Trocheck (foot) and Steven Kampfer (foot) are out, Roberto Luongo is in net and everyone is ready to go.
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— Jaromir Jagr plays his 203rd career playoff game and first since 2013. His postseason experience dwarfs just about everyone in the NHL, but very much so with his teammates, eight of whom are making their playoff debuts tonight.StoryBerube confident in return as Isles backupVoteIslanders vs. Panthers: Who has the edge?
“We’ve got a lot of guys who have never been here,” Jagr said. “On the other side, it could be an advantage for us. You never know.”
The 44-year-old Jagr said even at his advanced age the back-to-backs for Games 1 and 2 don’t bother him at all. “You know you’re going to play the next night so you just have to be smart,” he said. As for nerves: “Not in the morning ... Of course you do. When you really care about something, of course you’re going to be a little bit nervous.”
— Shawn Thornton of the Panthers and the Islanders’ Johnny Boychuk are tight, having won a Stanley Cup together with the Bruins in 2011. “We’re friends. We won’t be once it starts tonight,” Thornton said. “I love him and we had some great success together. He’s on the other side now though.”
— Former Islander draft pick Luongo is the main man for Florida in goal and recent former Islander Al Montoya (2010-12) will back up. “As you saw last night, you have to always be ready as a goalie,” Montoya said, referring to the goaltender carousel in Pittsburgh during Game 1 of Penguins-Rangers. “Nothing changes with your preparation.”
— The Panthers’ top two defense pairs, Dmitri Kulikov-Aaron Ekblad and Brian Campbell-Erik Gudbranson, could either match against John Tavares’ line. Panthers coach Gerard Gallant doesn’t profess to be a big matchup guy. “They’re more than just Tavares,” he said.