Mathew Barzal of the Islanders celebrates his second-period goal against Anthony Stolarz...

Mathew Barzal of the Islanders celebrates his second-period goal against Anthony Stolarz of the Florida Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena on Thursday in Sunrise, Fla. Credit: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Islanders spent two days practicing the basics, specifically getting bodies consistently to the net and winning one-on-one battles.

It showed on Thursday night against the playoff-bound Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena as the Islanders frustrated the hosts with their physical play, especially around the creases, and held on for a crucial 3-2 win.

“We battled,” Jean-Gabriel Pageau said after scoring what proved to be the winner at 10:42 of the second period as the Islanders buzzed the crease. “We all showed up and Varly [Semyon Varlamov] was amazing in net.”

It was an all-around successful start to a challenging three-game road trip for the Islanders (31-26-15), as all of the teams they are chasing for a playoff spot lost. They are five points behind the Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division — with two games in hand and a game in Philadelphia on Monday night — and four points behind the Capitals for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot.

“Just go out there and give it all, that’s our mentality,” said Varlamov, who made 15 of his 27 saves in the third period, kicking out his right pad to stop Sam Reinhart’s power-play blast from the slot at 10:55 and denying all three shots the Panthers got in the final 90 seconds while skating six-on-five.

“We only have 10 games left after this one and this is going to be a model. This team has been known for never giving up, no matter where we’re at, no matter what’s going on. We’ve faced adversity. This is going to be a battle to the end.”

The Panthers (46-22-5), in a 1-5-1 skid, still clinched a playoff spot thanks to the Red Wings’ 4-0 loss to the Hurricanes.

The Islanders also spent plenty of time working on their special teams the previous two days. And while the power play went 0-for-6 to deepen its slump to 2-for-32 in their last nine games, they got a huge third-period penalty kill to protect a one-goal lead on the Panthers’ only man advantage.

“It was a team performance,” coach Patrick Roy said. “It was nice to see the way we played and the poise that we had offensively. We took our time offensively, looked at our options. I thought that was one of our better games offensively, possessing the puck.”

Aleksander Barkov’s tap-in at the right post gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead at 6:32 of the second period. It was a big swing after the Islanders started the second period with two early power plays — Mathew Barzal drew both — but mustered only three shots in the four minutes of man-advantage time.

But Barzal got below the right circle to deflect defenseman Ryan Pulock’s shot to tie it at 2-2 at 8:43. It was his career-high 23rd goal.

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Pageau’s winner survived an unsuccessful challenge that Casey Cizikas had interfered with Anthony Stolarz (21 saves). Pulock had his apparent opening goal at 7:49 of the first period overturned because the Panthers successfully challenged that rookie Kyle MacLean interfered with the goalie.

Instead, Vladimir Tarasenko made it 1-0 at 8:13 with a shot that deflected in off Pageau’s stick.

When asked if he was worried that his goal was going to be overturned, Pageau said, “I wouldn’t be surprised. The bounces are not going our way right now.”

Pulock tied it at 1-1 at 13:20 of the first period with a hard wrister from the right circle after Pageau beat Carter Verhaeghe and defenseman Niko Mikkola to retrieve the puck at the end wall.

Notes & quotes: Cal Clutterbuck, the NHL’s all-time leader in hits since the statistic first started being kept in 2005-06, had three to become the first player in league history to reach 4,000 hits. “That’s a big number,” he said. “Any time you’re the first to do anything in the NHL, it’s a special moment. That’s part of my job. If anything, it’s validation that I’ve been doing it well for a long time.” Clutterbuck needed stitches for his bloodied lip after taking a high stick from Reinhart that ended his night at 14:29 of the third period . . . Left wing Matt Martin drew into the lineup for Simon Holmstrom after being a healthy scratch against the Devils.

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