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Panthers Wrap-Up: Devils 5, Panthers 2

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 1 0 0 2
Devils 1 1 3 0 5
FLA - M. Samuelsson (2), K. Barch (1)

NJD - A. Henrique (11), P. Elias (14), I. Kovalchuk (17), SH-EN - I. Kovalchuk (18), EN - Z. Parise (14)
NEWARK (AP) - Patrik Elias will never forget the 1,000th game of his career.

"I'm always going to remember this," said Elias, who had a goal, two assists and made a huge defensive play on a penalty kill in the closing minute, leading the Devils to a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers Friday night.

"They're a really good team. I thought we played good, but we had to play great to put them away. Every point is so vital now. We can't be giving games away like that in the third period."

- Defenseman Mike Weaver.
1. Mounting A Relatively Quick Response, Twice:: The Devils got off to fast starts in each of the first two periods of the game as Adam Henrique scored 3:53 in the opening period after scoring on a backhander from just outside the crease and Patrik Elias scored even quicker in the second as his tally came with 36 seconds off the clock. In each case, the Panthers were able to answer with goals of their own. First it was forward Mikael Samuelsson netting his second of the season as he scored top shelf on the rush off a drop pass from Marcel Goc. That goal came 3:40 following Henrique's goal. Then Krys Barch did the same in the second as he netted his first as a Panther off a similar play. Taking the feed from Michal Repik on the rush, Barch scored on a low hard shot through Johan Hedberg's five-hole to tie the score at two just 2:10 following Elias' goal. It was two great answers to a Devils team that had won three of their previous four at the Prudential Center.

2. Unable To Take A Lead: Tied at two early in the second, the Panthers had several great opportunities to take their first lead of the game over the next 20 minutes of game time. The best chance had to go to winger Kris Versteeg just 3:06 after Barch tied the game. All alone to the left of Hedberg, the puck found it's way onto Versteeg. With a wide open net to shoot at and the Devils netminder trying to get over, Versteeg paused for just a second before ringing the puck off the crossbar and into the net as Hedberg flailed at the shot. Barch and newly signed John Madden also almost connected on another chance early in the third. Barch put a puck in the crease area and it was just in a bad spot between Madden's stick and skate otherwise it would have been a tap in goal for the wide-open forward.

3. Late Chance But Empty Netters Seal It: With only one power play the first 57 minutes, the Panthers caught a whistle late in the third. There Zach Parise was called for delay of game after putting the puck over the glass with 2:52 remaining. A golden opportunity to tie the game with being up a man, the Panthers could not muster a legitimate offensive threat in the first minute and a half of the penalty. Still trailing, they sent starting netminder Jacob Markstrom to the bench for an extra attacker, giving them a 6-on-4 advantage. The move did not pay off and New Jersey salted away the victory with a shorthanded empty netter from Ilya Kovalchuk, his second of the game, with a minute showing on the clock. The Panthers kept Markstrom on the bench and Parise made it a 5-2 final with another empty netter 20 seconds later. Tough to see such a gritty effort by the team go for naught as the outcome failed to produce points.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@JimHardiman: Come on, #flapanthers, you can do better. Monday would be a good time to start.

@TylerSmith80: The #FlaPanthers have got to figure it out. Can't keep losing ground in the division.

@chrisiturrioz: #FlaPanthers with a bitter loss :(...

@MetsPanthersFan: Another poor performance for the #FlaPanthers. This is getting painful too watch. What a shame. I'm so disappointed.

Memorable fan posts from the game.

T.j. Peterson: About the game: FINISHING!!! We should have been up 3-2 3 different times!! We got a crucial point in NY, we screwed up the trip tonight. Monday vs the Canucks is now a massive game and Luongo will be fresh after a rest. If the Cats keep slipping who knows what's going to happen?

Jeff Bye: very disappointing !!!.......starting to remind me of last year and the year before that...................we should have had that game 5-2.......address this stuff now or we will be 4th in our division very soon.

John D. Dechert: Terrible......ugh

Dara Ross: you can't just have 1 line to win games. everyone should have known that weiss, flash, and versteeg couldn't keep up the scoring at the rate they were going. we need consistency from everyone and us only being able to score 2 goals a game is not gonna have us winning no matter who is in net for us

2. Twice the Panthers came back from one-goal deficits but it wasn't enough. After Ilya Kovalchuk scored, the Devils recorded two empty netters to make a close game look like a blow out.

5. A day after the two teams combined for four minor penalties, Florida and New Jersey did one more in finishing with five. The funny part was that two of them came in the game's first 3:21 of play.

11. He's not known for his scoring prowess, but Krys Barch netted the 11th goal of his NHL career and first as a Panther when he scored on a hard shot 2:46 into the second period. Barch has played in 276 games over his NHL career.

21. Signed on Wednesday and playing in his first game since last April, John Madden was pretty busy in playing his former team (spent X seasons with New Jersey). Madden saw 21 shifts for 12:18 of ice time, finishing with two shots on net while winning 5 of 12 face-offs (42%)..

Congratulations goes to forward Patrik Elias who played in his 1,000th NHL game. Every single one of them have come in the Devils uniform. The forward had a pretty successful night, finishing with three points (goal, two assists).

Patrik Elias
Can't really argue with 1,000 games and a heck of a 1,000th game as he collected three points, including New Jersey's second goal of the night.

1 Goal, 2 Assists, +3, 2 Shots
The Panthers will have two days off before returning to action on Monday with a cross-conference showdown with the Vancouver Canucks. There will be a lot of familiar faces in the lineup for both teams. On Vancouver, the Canucks have former Panthers Chris Higgins, David Booth (possible to play due to injury), Keith Ballard, etc. Those Panthers that have saw time with the Canucks include Mikael Samuelsson. Vancouver currently sits atop the Western Conference with 53 points in their first 41 games (25-13-3). They are led by the Sedin twins Henrik (48 points in 41 games) and Daniel (46 points in 40 games).

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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