Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo defends the goal against New...

Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo defends the goal against New York Islanders center Ryan Strome in the first period of an NHL hockey game at Barclays Center on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Ryan Strome may not have felt he needed to miss the third period and overtime of Saturday’s 3-2 win in Columbus nor Sunday’s win at home over the Devils, but he understood.

He took a hard hit from behind from the Blue Jackets’ Andrew Bodnarchuk in the first period on Saturday, played the second period but was then held out due to an abundance of caution from the medical and coaching staffs.

“You may not appreciate it at the moment, but that sort of patience is always a good decision,” Strome said on Tuesday morning as he prepared for his return to the lineup. “You always want to be careful when it’s a head, shoulder, neck, that type of thing. It’s a long season and more important you want to have a long career, so there’s no need to mess around.”

Strome returned to his spot on a line with Nikolay Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski, with Steve Bernier a healthy scratch. Strome said his Long Island Rail Road trip to work on Tuesday morning was a little livelier than normal.

“I know we passed the Rangers in the standings. Half the people on the train this morning reminded me,” he said. “We’re feeling pretty good about the way we’re playing right now. We think we can win this division.”

No Jagr for Panthers

It felt like Jaromir Jagr scored a couple points every time he came to Nassau Coliseum and his 154 points (61 goals, 93 assists) in 108 career games against the Islanders is by far the most by an Isles opponent for any active player.

But Jagr’s Barclays Center debut would have to wait as he missed Tuesday’s game with the flu. The illness has been circulating through the Panthers team.

The Panthers also sent veteran winger Dave Bolland to the AHL on a conditioning assignment. Bolland, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks, is in the second year of a five-year, $27.5 million deal and has a goal and four assists this season.

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