Aatu Raty #16 of the Islanders is mobbed by his teammates...

Aatu Raty #16 of the Islanders is mobbed by his teammates after his third period goal against the Florida Panthers at UBS Arena on Friday, Dec. 23, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Aatu Raty thought he was being pranked.

He was in the sauna Friday morning, preparing to play that night for the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, when he was told that coach Brent Thompson needed to speak to him.

Fast-forward to Friday night, when the organization’s top prospect scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game. Plus he heard his first “Ra-ty, Ra-ty” chant from the UBS Arena crowd as the Islanders snapped a two-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over the Panthers.

With forwards Simon Holmstrom and Brock Nelson possibly being added to the team’s growing list of injured players, there’s a chance the Finnish center will get a few games to show whether he’s ready for a full-time role.

“Just the whole day felt surreal,” said Raty, 20, who was selected 52nd overall in 2021 after initially being projected as a first-round pick. “This is something I’ve wanted to do since I can remember. It’s so special.”

Defenseman Parker Wotherspoon, 25, and with 239 games of AHL experience over eight seasons, also made his NHL debut after being recalled along with Raty.

The Islanders (19-14-2), coming off a 1-2-2 road trip, got 23 saves from Ilya Sorokin as the goalie snapped a personal seven-game losing streak. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 38 shots for the Panthers (15-16-5), who are in a 2-6-0 tailspin.

“I thought we played well,” coach Lane Lambert said. “Defensively, I don’t think we gave them a whole bunch, and I think we’ve been doing that for the last few games. I thought we played north and we played in their zone.”

Raty extended the Islanders’ lead to 3-1 at 7:10 of the third period with a confident rising shot from the slot.

“I was watching on the Jumbotron and I didn’t even realize I made a move there,” he said. “I just thought I got the puck and shot it. It felt great.”

“You can see he plays on both sides of the puck,” Lambert said. “I thought defensively he was sound. He stays on people and he understands angles.”

Raty felt badly for Holmstrom, his friend and Bridgeport teammate. The 23rd overall pick in 2019, playing in his 14th NHL game, was helped off the ice with 2.8 seconds left in the second period, unable to put weight on his left leg after an unpenalized knee-to-knee hit by Sam Bennett.

“Oh, yeah, it’s horrible,” Raty said. “I hope it was an accident. I don’t think anybody wants to do that on purpose.”

The Islanders also lost Nelson at 11:47 of the second period when he was hit by the puck on teammate Alexander Romanov’s attempted clear, which bloodied Nelson’s left ear.

Fourth-line center Casey Cizikas (upper body) was injured in Thursday night’s 5-3 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, necessitating Raty’s call-up.

Raty joined the organization late last season after completing his season in Finland’s SM-liiga and helping Finland to the silver medal in the World Junior Championships in Canada with three goals and seven assists.

The Islanders hope the strong-skating Raty can meet his projection and develop into a top-six forward. In his debut, Lambert started him in Cizikas’ spot between Matt Martin and Hudson Fasching.

Matthew Tkachuk’s four-on-four goal gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 8:09 of the first period. Anthony Beauvillier scored his 100th career goal at 5:20 of the second period to tie it at 1-1 and later added an empty-netter.

Defenseman Ryan Pulock, from the right wall,  made it 2-1 with 44.1 seconds left in the second period and Zach Parise’s backhander pushed it to 4-1 at 8:21 of the third.

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