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Panthers Wrap-Up: Devils 3, Panthers 2 (SO)

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers
1 2 3 OT SO T
Panthers 1 1 0 0 0-2 2
DEVILS 0 1 1 0 2-2 2
FLA - K. Versteeg (14), SH - K. Versteeg (15)

NJD - P. Elias (10), Z. Parise (10), GW - I. Kovalchuk
SUNRISE, Fla (AP) - Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias scored in the shootout and Martin Brodeur stopped both Florida attempts to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Panthers on Tuesday night.

Elias and Zach Parise had the New Jersey goals in regulation. Brodeur made 24 saves to help the Devils rally from a two-goal deficit for their fourth win in five games.

"We didn't play well tonight. I think that's a follow through (on New York). We looked tired and weren't moving our feet and we didn't have much options. Not a great night for us."

- Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen
1. Turnovers Good For The Cats: Florida's first two goals on the night came by way of the turnover. In the first period, Stephen Weiss intercepted an Adam Larsson pass from behind the goal line, skated across the goal line to out wait Martin Brodeur and then set up Kris Versteeg for the relatively easy goal top shelf. In the second, the Panthers found themselves on the penalty kill but Versteeg was at it again as he picked the pocket of defenseman Henrik Tallinder at center ice and raced in on Brodeur on the breakaway. There Versteeg roofed the puck over Brodeur for his second of the night.

2. Coming Up Empty in the Last Forty: The Panthers posted 15 shots on Devils netminder Martin Brodeur in the opening 20 minutes as they came up firing. After that, they couldn't find the trigger as New Jersey clogged the defensive zone. Florida was held to six shots on net in the second period. What's worse? They were limited to just one single shot in the final twenty minutes of regulation. The third period was really a dull period as New Jersey wasn't much better, registering just five shots on Jose Theodore. A couple of them came in the dying seconds as they tried to win the game in regulation. Florida found a little bit of offensive fire in overtime as they registered four shots on net compared to the Devils zero. That didn't even include the shot that Tomas Fleischmann rung off the post.

3. Devils Return The Favor: Trailing by two after Versteeg's goals in the first and second, the Devils were determined to come back as they buzzed the Panthers net. New Jersey, in fact, got a goal from Patrik Elias 56 seconds following Versteeg's shorthanded goal to make it a one goal game. Then in the third period, Zach Parise put in a rebound from in close to knot the game at two. With no score through the final 12:20 of regulation and five minutes of overtime, the game headed to the shootout. While one doesn't want to think of it as a forgone conclusion, the odds were tilted heavily in the favor of the Devils as they came into the game scoring on 14 of their 20 shots in the one-on-one session and Brodeur was 5-1. The Panthers on the other hand were a combined 1 of 14. New Jersey made good on their excellent record in the shootout as both Ilya Kovalchuk and Parise scored while Brodeur stopped Fleischmann and Versteeg for the extra point. The comeback, while not as big as the three-goal comeback of the Cats back in November, was pretty impressive.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@JimHardiman: Can the #flapanthers just clone Versteeg and put four lines of him vs. NJ?

@erbacaaa: The fact is, #FlaPanthers needed a point tonight and we got one. Lots wrong with that game, but we're staying relevant by getting steady pts

@caracasunited: #flapanthers really should practice shootout great game! Barch Versteeg Jobo great game and the rest of the Cats!

@JuliaaLeon: Well at least the #FlaPanthers got a point. #1IsBetterThanNothing

@sane529: Can't keep giving away points at home. They need to learn to win at home!!!! #FlaPanthers blow a 2-0 lead and lose in a shootout.

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Mark Zola: Stop turning off the energy cats...we coulda taken this game if we kept the pressure...let's get some wins!

Dan Nash: Loved the physical part of tonights game but really 2 sog in 20mins?! Cmonnnnnnn see ya next game cats hope its more offensive!!

Gregory Cordero: Shootout struggles continue....

Ryan Maloy: I realize the 3 games in 4 days makes you tired, but they need to find a way to win these games down the stretch. At least the caps did lose so we get a point increase on them.

Ben Shapiro: not gonna lie been a fan for forever and we need some help in scoring in the shootout.. practice or a dedicated crazy playmake/dangler


4. Recording the first two goals of the game, Kris Versteeg notched his fourth multi-goal game of the season. The Cats winger also has recorded eight multi-point contests to go along with that stat.

7. After throwing everything on net in the first period (15 shots), the Panthers only accounted for six shots in the second period. They followed that up with just one single shot in the third stanza

Trailing by two, New Jersey tied the game on tenths of the season from Patrik Elias (second period) and Zach Parise (third period).

Florida has definitely given it's fans excitement at home this season. The last ten games played at home have all been one-goal games (4-1-5). That stretches back to a 3-4 shootout loss against Winnipeg on Oct. 31.

18. Heading into the game, New Jersey had converted on 14 of their 20 opportunities in the shootout (70%). That percentage fell, just a little as they scored on two of their three chances (69.6%).
Ilya Kovalchuk
Ilya Kovalchuk was involved from get go, mixing it up in the penalty department and setting up both Devils goals to tie the score at two. He then won it in the shootout.

2 Assists, GW Goal, 5 Shots
Florida continues their four game homestand with their one and only meeting against the Calgary Flames. Calgary enters Friday night's game on tired legs as it will be the third game in four nights (Tuesday in Nashville, Thursday in Tampa). The Flames fell to the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-1 to go to 14-14-2 on the season. Calgary is led by their captain Jarome Iginla and former Panthers captain Olli Jokinen, both with 21 points in 30 games. Between the pipes, Mikka Kiprusoff sports a respectable 2.38 goals against average and .919 save percentage to go with a record of 14-10-1.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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