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Panthers Wrap-Up: Devils 6, Panthers 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 2 0 0 0 2
Devils 1 4 1 0 6
FLA - PP - M. Goc (7), B. Campbell (8)
NJD - PP - P. Elias (12), P. Elias (13), D. Clarkson (14), R. Carter (6), S. Gionta (4), D. Zubrus (8)

NEWARK, NJ —  (AP) - Patrik Elias scored twice and the New Jersey Devils kept their faint playoff hopes alive by rallying from a two-goal deficit for a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

David Clarkson, whose big check seemed with wake up the Devils after they fell behind 2-0, tallied the go-ahead goal in a game where they welcomed back offensive catalyst Ilya Kovalchuk to the lineup after missing 11 games with a shoulder injury..

"It was very sloppy as we work toward Game No. 48. Our commitment to defense has waned and hasn't been strong enough. We're too easy to play against. Hence, we've given up five, six goals throughout the road trip."

- Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen to the Miami Herald.
1. A Great Start: Florida couldn't have asked for any better start to their game in New Jersey. It started with an early power play and came away with a 2-0 advantage just 7:05 into the contest. The Panthers received the game's first power play as Ryan Carter went off for slashing just 5:43 into the game. They used some nice passing to set up Marcel Goc for his seventh of the season. The forward took the pass from Tomas Fleischmann, skated in and fired a shot top shelf over Martin Brodeur 6:11 into the contest. 54 seconds later, Mike Weaver threw a pass across the blueline that Brian Campbell collected off the boards, took a couple of strides in and fired one off the post and in for his eighth of the season. Holding the 2-0 lead early in New Jersey, the Panthers forced an angry Devils coach Pete DeBoer to call a time out. 

2. Devils Storm Back: That time out, along with the second period, seemed to do the trick as the Devils scored five straight to take a commanding lead into the third period. It started with a power play goal by Patrik Elias with 5:38 to play in the first as he sped through the neutral zone and offensive zone before putting the puck top shelf to make it a 2-1 game. The second period was certainly one to forget as the Devils used the turnovers to tie it and take the lead. First it was Elias scoring his second of the game 2:09 in off a Dmitry Kulikov turnover. Then David Clarkson who set up Elias on the 2-on-1 break the goal before, scored with 10:45 played on another Panthers defenseman turnover. A nice play by Steve Bernier set up Ryan Carter in front of the net with 5:49 left in the second and Stephen Gionta made it a 5-2 game by scoring on the rush with 2:16 left in the game.

3. Ending The Game: With New Jersey holding a commanding 5-2 lead after 40 minutes of play, the Panthers found it tough to skate in the third as the Devils went into shutdown mode. The team, along with netminder Martin Brodeur allowed just two shots on net. They added a sixth goal of the game as Dainius Zubrus scored off a redirect just after a Devils power play came to an end.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@entartungART: The hard lessons learned will pay off next season. #flapanthers

@edithnun22: Come on @FlaPanthers !!!!!

@RossTheBearJew: @FlaPanthers this is getting old...

@84alloy: In class. I think my hockey app has gone haywire. There's no way it went from 2-0 to 2-5. #FlaPanthers 

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Danielle Ruby: I cannot say I am surprised, but it still sucks

Chris Burt: Panthers had six total shots in final two periods.

Kenny Scott: We need better defense and better goalkeeping.

Sean Lee Fowler: It is a mystery to me why this team is so bad. It's less than a season removed from being a playoff team. I really want to just attribute it somehow to the lockout and hope we bounce back next year..

2. Florida and New Jersey combined to have six players with multi-point games. Unfortunately for Florida, they only had one of them. The first one of the game, Brian Campbell recorded a goal and an assist for Florida. The Devils meanwhile had multi-point efforts from Stephen Gionta, Travis Zajac, Ryan Carter, David Clarkson and Patrik Elias.

 Using his speed in the third period, forward Quinton Howden drew the Panthers third penalty shot attempt of the season. Unlike Jonathan Huberdeau's success (2-for-2), Howden was denied by the right pad of Martin Brodeur.

The Panthers held a two-goal lead early in the game but from there on it was all the Devils as they scored six straight, including four in the second period.

 The Devils held the Panthers to a season-low 13 shots on net, surpassing the previous low of 16 on March 10 against Montreal. Florida recorded over half their total in the first period in finishing with seven in the 20 minutes.

54. The Panthers struck for two goals early in the game. The goals by Marcel Goc and Brian Campbell came 54 seconds apart with Goc first lighting the lamp 6:11 into the contest.

Patrik Elias
Came up big in getting the Devils on the board after trailing by two goals with the power play goal and then tying the game early in the second to get the hosts rolling from there.

2 Goals, 2 Points, +1, 4 Shots, 15:16 TOI
Florida is right back at it and will look to close out their four-game road trip with a win on Sunday when they travel to Boston to take on the Bruins in another early start (12:30pm). The Bruins are coming off a Saturday afternoon defeat to the Eastern Conference leading Penguins, falling short 3-2. Boston is looking to stay with Montreal in the race for the second seed in the East heading into the playoffs. They're led offensively by Brad Marchand (34 points in 40 games) and trade deadline acquisition Jaromir Jager (33 points in 42 games). Tuukka Rask holds a 17-9-4 record with a .927 save percentage and 2.02 goals against average between the pipes. 

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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