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Schneider, Devils end Panthers' five-game win streak

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- Cory Schneider made 34 saves, including a penalty shot in the second period, to help the New Jersey Devils to a 4-2 win against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center on Sunday.

Lee Stempniak, Kyle Palmieri, Adam Henrique and Mike Cammalleri scored for New Jersey (14-10-3), which ended a four-game home losing streak (0-2-2).

Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Huberdeau scored and Roberto Luongo made 16 saves for the Panthers (13-10-4), who saw their five-game win streak end. Luongo, who hadn't allowed more than two goals in five straight starts, had won his previous four games. Florida has lost its past six regular-season games in New Jersey.

Schneider denied Huberdeau on a penalty shot with 2:06 remaining in the second period and the Devils holding a 3-2 lead. Henrique thought the save against Huberdeau was the key moment of the game.

"It was huge," Henrique said. "[Schneider] came up big and something like that really gets the bench going. It's similar to the impact a fight has where someone steps up and battles for the team. Schneider was there, battled through that shot and it turned out to be a big part in the win."

Huberdeau received his chance when defenseman Adam Larsson was called for tripping on a breakaway.

"I kind of put [Schneider] in a bad spot there and I'm glad he saved that one," Larsson said. "During the shot, I was thinking, 'save it, please.'"

Huberdeau, who finished with four shots on goal, was disappointed he failed to tie the game.

"I don't think we had a good start in the first period and that's what kind of killed us," Huberdeau said. "I probably should have scored on the penalty shot."

Schneider, who poke-checked the puck with the heel of his skate on the attempt, has stopped all three penalty shot attempts he's faced this season. He has denied 11 of 13 penalty shots in his career.

"Huberdeau is pretty tricky; he likes to make some moves in tight and go one-hand and I tried to stay with him," Schneider said. "Sometimes you have to use the heel of your skate to get a piece of it."

Cammalleri gave the Devils a 4-2 lead 6:44 into the third when he scored his 11th of the season from the left circle.

"That fourth goal was big; we were able to weather the storm," Schneider said. "They were pushing and on the offensive but [Damon Severson] had a great look and Cammalleri doesn't miss those very often."

Severson had his second multiple-point game for the Devils this season with two assists. He has no goals and nine assists in 26 games.

"I think maybe five or 10 games ago I was thinking about not having scored a goal yet, but I'm realizing that if I stick to my game and do the right things they'll eventually come," Severson said. "That's how hockey works. The best I could do was get it to Cammalleri because he's a goal scorer. He puts the puck in the net if you get it too him with an open net."

Cammalleri, who has four goals and seven points in the past three games, took the pass from Severson and drove a shot past Luongo for his ninth multiple-point game of the season.

"I thought the line of Brian O'Neill, Stephen Gionta and Jordin Tootoo did a great job right before our line scored because Florida was pushing and we had no answer but they had a fantastic shift and we kind of fed off that to create our goal," Cammalleri said. "That's why you don't call them a fourth line. You call them teammates. We all have significant roles and this has always been a consummate team sport."

Huberdeau scored his third of the season 13:07 into the second to pull Florida within 3-2. The goal was a result of tremendous work by the Panthers, in particular Jaromir Jagr, who continually battled with Larsson along the boards to maintain possession in the Devils zone.

"It's a frustrating loss because we thought we had a good thing going," Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. "We felt like we could come out with that game, but unfortunately we didn't start the game on time and it came back to bite us."

Henrique scored his 13th of the season off a wraparound attempt 3:43 into the second to give the Devils a 3-1 lead.

"Our line just wants to keep things going," Henrique said. "We've set team goals for ourselves and need to find a way to keep producing offensively. We'll stay with it while not giving up defensively."

Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov just missed at cutting the deficit 9:19 into the second when he fanned on a shot from low in the right circle with Schneider out of position. The puck rolled harmlessly into Schneider, who was able to get a stoppage while on his back.

"We got off to a great start which was something we talked about but they pushed back and they have some great young players and the ageless wonder (Jagr), so there were times we bent but didn't break," Schneider said. "We got a couple more big goals to get that lead back."

Ekblad scored his fifth of the season 45 seconds into the second on a slap shot from the right point that deflected off the shin pad of Devils defenseman Andy Greene before hitting Schneider in the right arm and trickling over the goal line. Jagr assisted on the goal, his first point on Florida's five-game road trip.

Stempniak scored the fastest goal to open a game for the Devils this season when he controlled a pass from Cammalleri in the slot and backhanded a shot past Luongo 26 seconds into the first. Palmieri made is 2-0 when he took a pass from Severson, skated low into the right circle and took a wrist shot that beat Luongo to the short side at 12:55.

The Panthers begin a two-game homestand on Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators.

New Jersey will play at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello served as Devils GM for 28 seasons and won three Stanley Cup championships before resigning and taking over in Toronto on July 23.

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