FLA - N. Bjugstad (9) NJD - M. Ryder (16), M. Zidlicky (8)
NEWARK — (NHL.com) - With only a few seconds to work with and a faceoff in the offensive zone, Jaromir Jagr was basically a player/coach for the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Moments before the draw, Jagr told Marek Zidlicky where to position himself. Travis Zajac won the faceoff back to Jagr, who quickly fed Zidlicky for a one-timer with 2.1 seconds left in overtime to give the Devils a 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center.
"It was up and down. Guys were getting a lot of good chances. Timmy kept us in it. We had some good opportunities."
- Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad
1. Iced Over: The Panthers had the chances early in the first, including Scottie Upshall being stoned by Corey Schnieder on a breakaway a minute in but it was the Devils striking first thanks to some tired Panthers. Florida iced the puck and New Jersey made them pay for the icing as Michael Ryder scored from in front of the net on a feed from Ryan Clowe with 4:38 left in the first period.
2. Beauties A Minute Apart: Adam Henrique will be having nightmares going to bed Saturday night as Tim Thomas robbed the Devils forward not once but twice on what could be seen as a save(s) of the year candidate. Thomas dove back to get a glove on Henrique's initial shot as the forward went cross crease then after the puck was knocked out he stoned him short side with 9:25 left in the second. That kept the game at 1-0 and with that the Cats tied it up a little over a minute later. There, Nick Bjugstad finished off a beautiful passing display on the rush for his ninth of the season.
3. Dueling Until A Sudden End: It was a game of anything you can do, I can do better between Thomas and New Jersey's Corey Schneider. The net minders traded big save after big save meaning that the goals would come at a premium. Thomas stopped former Panther Ryan Carter on a shorthanded breakaway in the third while Schneider came up with big saves on Tomas Kopecky, Jimmy Hayes and Scottie Upshall. Thomas came up big with 45.1 seconds remaining in regulation and Ryan Clowe all alone in front of the net while Schneider stoned Brian Campbell late in overtime. With that, someone had to skate off with the two points and Marek Zidlick netted the game winner with 2.1 seconds remaining as his shot off the face-off hit Bjugstad's stick and went top shelf.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.
@EliMelville: @FlaPanthers #timthomas was outstanding tonight! #FlaPanthers
@Stephaniemf: @FlaPanthers happy they're coming back home!
@LAMARiRacing: Heartbreak for @FlaPanthers fun game to watch both goalies had some amazing saves. #Panthersarefuntowatch
Memorable fan posts from the game.
Milan Balkanski: It was a great game. Cats played well we lost. Onto to the next game with the Islanders and let's win it
Matthew Real McCoy Mittelberg: Good game at least we got a point
John Garcia: Even with the lost.we show the devils That we are still contenders.
3. Offense was limited as the two teams combined for two regulation goals before the game was determined in the final seconds of overtime.
3. There was a lot of five-on-five action as the referees blew their whistles for just three minors during the game.
7. Thomas keeps on keeping on as he kept foiling the Devils all night. It was the seventh time in his last eight games that the netminder allowed two goals or less.
9. Slick Nick (Bjugstad) came up with a big goal on his ninth of the season as the young gun tied the game at one in the second period. It was his first goal of the new year.
63. A save extravaganza, Thomas (34 saves) and Schneider (29 saves) combined for 63 aves in the game.
Both netminders deserved to be the Star of the game but Schneider was one save better.
The Panthers return for two home games next week as they take on the Islanders and Sharks on Tuesday and Thursday respectively. New York has picked it up lately, having won six straight games on the road after beating the Avalanche 2-1 in overtime Saturday. Offensively Canadian Olympian and Isles captain John Tavares has averaged more than a point a game, posting 20 goals and 54 points in 45 games while fellow forward Kyle Okposo is close to a point a game with 43 points in 45 games.