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Panthers Wrap-Up: Devils 2, Panthers 1

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 1 0 0 1
Devils 0 2 0 0 2
FLA - P. Mueller (7)
NJD - P. Elias (10), D. Clarkson (12)

NEWARK, NJ —  Travis Zajac set up two goals, and the New Jersey Devils rode another solid performance by Martin Brodeur to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.

Patrik Elias and David Clarkson scored for New Jersey, and Brodeur finished with 17 saves as the Devils won their second straight since the 40-year-old goalie returned to the lineup after being sidelined a month with a pinched nerve in his neck.

"I can sit here and paint the picture that we weren't bad, chances fairly even, did a good job on the penalty kill. But it's a results business. We didn't get it done. Close is just not working. the effort is there, we didn't give up a lot. We just couldn't find a way to win"

- Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen.
1. Mistakes And Down: The Panthers and Devils played a good paced opening period but despite the action there was no score and few shots to show for it. Florida had a 7-2 shot advantage after the opening 20 minutes. The Devils would score on their third shot of the game 1:24 into the second as Travis Zajac stole a clearing pass and with Patrik Elias rushed in on Scott Clemmensen. Elias took the feed from Zajac and scored five-hole to get the Devils on the board. A little less than 10 minutes later, the Devils had a two goal cushion and it was due to hard work by the Devils along with not being able to cover the puck by Clemmensen. On the rush, David Clarkson fired a shot on Clemmensen. The Panthers netminder got a piece of it and had it under his glove but the charging Clarkson barreled down and fought off a defenseman to put the puck into the back of the net.

2. On The Board Late: Looking like the Panthers would trail by two heading into the final period of play, a New Jersey mistake by Martin Brodeur would give the Panthers some momentum heading into the third. The Devils goalie would try to play the puck behind the net but a crashing Tomas Fleischmann took the puck away and fed Peter Mueller who deposited the puck into the wide open net. The goal came with just 9.8 seconds remaining in the period. For Florida, who had gotten good chances on Brodeur in the first 40 minutes, it was something needed if they hoped to play against one of the game's greatest goaltenders.

3. Not Enough: Despite the late goal and what should have been momentum, the Panthers had some tough skating in the third as the Devils played the neutral zone extremely well in allowing just six shots on Brodeur. It didn't help Florida's cause as they had to kill off almost half the period (seven minutes) a man short. Most of that came on a play where defenseman Colby Robak went off for cross checking Tim Sestito from behind. The forward went awkwardly into the boards and Robak was sent off for five minutes and given a game misconduct. Florida did have a chance or two while shorthanded but with most of the time spent in the Panthers zone, it made for a difficult chance of finding the equalizer. Florida pulled Clemmensen late but couldn't get a good opportunity on Brodeur. The loss ends their two-game win streak as they look to continue to try and post points.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@Tyler_Austin: Great effort by @FlaPanthers tonight honestly. This is how we should have been playing ALL season

@darcisays: Definitely getting invested in the @FlaPanthers... two months before I leave Miami. Oops. Better late than never?

@305MiamiTeams: Even though #FlaPanthers lost, they didn't play so bad. Still need to create better offense consistently. Wasn't one of their very bad games

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Anthony Engel: Its okay Cats, keep it going!

Gal Oron: This was a really good game. Goaltending wasn't bad. Amazing penalty kills, and a lot of heart and effort. This season was over a month ago but I really think we have a lot to look for next season. So for now let's just enjoy good hockey, wish the injured well and support our Panthers!

Seth Williams: Even in the loss, it was still a good game. A lot better defensively then they've been playing.

Greg Blackwood: One of the best games we played! Came up short but in it to win it! That looked like a playoff game!

Adam Stave: (I'm a Devils fan) I think the Panthers have a bright future ahead! Good coach, young players, etc..

1. Picking up one of two points for the Panthers and the only assist on the goal, forward Tomas Fleischmann also was the only plus player for the team.

The Devils had two shots on net in the first four minutes of the game. They would end the first with that total as the Panthers held New Jersey off the shot sheet for more than 16 minutes of play.

Florida finished with 11 hits on the night. Four of them came from fourth-line center Jerred Smithson who collected that total in just 10:41 of ice time.

9.8. The Panthers scored late in the second period, with just 9.8 seconds remaining as Peter Mueller scored his seventh of the season. Three of his goals have come in the final minute of play in the middle stanza.

15. It wasn't a pretty result as Colby Robak was given a game misconduct after a five-minute cross checking penalty in the third period. The 15 minutes was the first 15 PIM of Robak's NHL career (in 13 games).

Travis Zajac
Brodeur was strong in net for New Jersey but the Zajac had a hand in both Devils goals, picking up the only assist on Elias and Clarkson's tallies as he set up each play with nice passes.

2 Assists, 2 Points, +2, 18:16 TOI
Florida is back at it as they play Sunday on Long Island against the Islanders. It will be the second time the two teams meet in eight days. The last time, came in Sunrise with the Panthers fighting back furiously after trailing 3-0 after two periods as they scored three in less than two minutes to tie the game, only to see New York net the winner with less than eight minutes to play. The Islanders sit a few points outside of the playoffs with a 13-15-3 record (29 points) on the season. They fell 4-2 to the Penguins on Friday. The Islanders are led offensively by John Tavares (33 points in 31 games) and Matt Moulson (32 points in 31 games) while Evgeni Nabokov holds a 13-10-3 record with a 2.94 GAA.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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