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GAME STORY: Panthers 6, Devils 4

The Devils had a 4-1 lead but let it slip away as Florida rallied to score the next five and take the two points

by Chris Wescott TheChrisWescott / NewJerseyDevils.com

NEWARK, NJ - The Devils watched a 4-1 lead disappear as the Florida Panthers rallied to beat the home team 6-4. Following the disappointing result, New Jersey is now 0-4-2 to start the season.

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"If you're not confident it's going to turn around then the season is probably lost already. So no one's thinking this can't be turned around. It simply has to," said Devils goaltender Cory Schneider. "I think anybody in here as a professional and as a prideful player, we've got to do everything we can as an individual and then as a group to make sure that you're pointed in the right direction and are part of the solution not continuing to be part of the problem."

The Devils found themselves down 1-0 just 16 seconds into the first period. Jonathan Huberdeau potted the go-ahead foal, assisted by Evgenii Dadonov and Aleksander Barkov.

But then the home team got a spark, rattling off four unanswered goals.

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New Jersey hosts the Rangers on Thursday. The game can be seen on NBCSN and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at NewJerseyDevils.com. Puck drop is 7:08 p.m. ET.

In desperate need of a quick response, Taylor Hall rose to the occasion. Hall ripped a wrist shot past Sergei Bobrovsky at 2:28 of the first frame, evening the score at 1-1. Hall was assisted by Pavel Zacha and Sami Vatanen on his first goal of the season.

Jesper Bratt took the puck to the net late in the period with a nice move and he scored to put New Jersey up 2-1 at 19:13 of the opening frame. Pavel Zacha and Nikita Gusev registered the helpers

Will Butcher kept the good vibes going for the Devils by sending a shot through traffic just 32 seconds into the second. Butcher was assisted by Travis Zajac and Miles Wood.

Zacha then got inside position on a defender and buried a beautiful pass from Hall at 1:08 of the second period, giving New Jersey a 41- lead. P.K. Subban recorded the second assist.

Then, the Panthers took their turn at a run on goals.

The Panthers stopped the bleeding and cut the Devils lead to 4-2 later in the second period. Brett Connolly scored for Florida at 9:50 of the frame.

Connolly made it a one-goal game with just seven seconds remaining in the second period, scoring his second of the afternoon. The two teams entered the third with New Jersey having the slight 4-3 edge.

MacKenzie Weegar evened the score at 4-4 just 30 seconds into the final frame. In all three periods of the game somebody scored within the first 32 seconds.

Florida took their second lead of the game, their first since the opening minutes of the first, at 7:30 of the third period on a deflected shot from the point.

The nightmare continued for the Devils as Dadonov buried a power-play goal with less than five minutes remaining, giving Florida a 6-4 lead, helping seal the victory.

It's been a rough start to the year for the Devils, who are still searching for their first win after such a promising off-season.

"It's disheartening for sure, but nobody is feeling sorry for you," said Hall. "Florida is sure not feeling sorry for us. We have to get better."

The Devils will look to continue their momentum on Thursday with a home tilt against the New York Rangers.

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