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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 4, Devils 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 2 1 0 4
Devils 0 0 2 0 2
FLA - PP - S. Weiss (1), PP - S. Weiss (2), M. Goc (1), EN - T. Fleischmann (1)
NJD - T. Zajac (1), I. Kovalchuk (1)
SUNRISE, Fla (AP) - Stephen Weiss scored the first two playoff goals of his 10-year NHL career, Jose Theodore stopped 23 shots and the Florida Panthers got their first playoff victory in nearly 15 years, beating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Sunday night to even the first-round series at a game apiece.

Marcel Goc had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who survived a frantic Devils rally in the third.

""Feels good. Obviously, these fans have been waiting a long time for this kind of hockey and this is a big win for us. Not the start we wanted in the third period, but this is a big win."

- Forward Stephen Weiss.
1. Now That's A Quick Start: In Game 1, New Jersey came out swinging, putting up 26 shots in the opening period, putting three into the back of the net. While it was no where near as lethal in the goal category, Florida was the one to get the early jump in the series' second game. Getting a power play just 11 seconds into the contest (Andy Greene off for tripping), Florida capitalized on the man advantage a mere 12 seconds later (23 seconds into the game). There, Stephen Weiss put home a rebound off of a Mikael Samuelsson point shot. The goal was the fastest in Panthers playoff history and the fastest power play goal to start a game since 1987 when Mats Naslund scored 18 seconds in for Montreal against Quebec.

2. Building On The Lead: Florida had a golden opportunity late in the first as the Devils took simultaneous penalties with 17 seconds on the clock. Both Alexei Ponikarovsky (high-sticking) and David Clarkson (charging) would be sent to the box giving the Panthers a 5-on-3 for two solid minutes. They made the Devils pay 1:12 into the second as Weiss potted his second power play goal of the night, scoring on a rebound once again off of a Marcel Goc shot. The Panthers would make it a three-goal advantage with 5:21 left in the period as Goc beat Martin Brodeur with a hard shot from the slot. Florida would hold that three-goal advantage heading into the final 20 minutes. It was a defensive standstill other than that as the two teams combined for 27 shots (14-13 in Florida's advantage) through two periods.

3. Holding On To Tie The Series: Up by those three goals, Florida would need all of them as New Jersey pushed back early in the third period to get within one. First, Travis Zajac scored 48 seconds in off a Devils rush and then Adam Henrique set up Ilya Kovalchuk 1:14 later to make it difficult on the home crowd. The Panthers clamped down the rest of the way and despite some good chances from New Jersey, partically a shot by Zach Parise from in close off the feed from Kovalchuk, the Panthers were able to hold on. After icing the puck with 7.6 seconds left on the clock, Weiss took the draw. Despite a Devils win, Tomas Fleischmann ended up with the puck, racing down the ice and putting the game away with less than a second on the clock. The 4-2 victory was the first win at BankAtlantic Center and the first win since 1997. More importantly, at least in terms of this series, it sends the teams tied at one as the series shifts to New Jersey for two games.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@heyfatlulu: Thank you, #FlaPanthers ! I'd never been to a winning home playoff game before tonight!

@JimHardiman: #FLAPanthers WIN! It's been a long time, guys. Good on ya. Special congrats to Weiss. Can they just give him the C already? #BelieveRED

@84alloy: After tonight, the last five #FlaPanthers games I've been to have been wins. Trying to save up cash to see the next one.

@kidcrosby: Most intense game I've ever been too #playoffs love my #flapanthers

@brianfein: So pumped about tonight's #FlaPanthers HUGE win! I wanna go celebrate! Who's with me! #RatTrick

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Peter Schell: Way to go Weiss!!!!! #1 Star!!!!!! Well deserved!!!

Joan Sharpe VanVelsor: Love seeing those rats on the ice again. GO PANTHERS'''''

Kelvin J. Fonseca: Coach Dineen knows how to work his magic!! GO PAINTERS!!

Robert MacIntosh: Panthers already have more playoff wins in less games than the Pens and their star studded lineup. Who would have thought this would ever happen?

Jeff Keaster: Playoffs, check. Win in playoffs, check. With both of those off our back let's keep it up with some wins in Jersey!!!

1. Picking up the 4-2 victory, the Panthers recorded their first playoff win ever at the BankAtlantic Center. Florida had been 0-3 entering the game in Sunrise, falling to New Jersey in each of the first three instances.

2. Not too shabby for just his second playoff game of his career. After potting an early power play goal (see below), Stephen Weiss notched his second man advantage marker of the game in the second period. No one in the 32 playoff games prior had registered more than one power play marker before. The record now stands as Weiss'. For now.

7. After combining for 35 shots in the opening period on Friday (mostly due to New Jersey's 26 shots), the two team's defenses clamped down in the first period Sunday as the offenses recorded just seven shots between them. New Jersey held a 4-3 advantage through the first twenty minutes.

23. That didn't take long. On their first power play of the night just 11 seconds into the game, Weiss scored at the 23 second mark, breaking a Panthers playoff record for fastest goal to start a playoff game. It was also the fastest power play goal to start a playoff game since April 26, 1987 when Montreal's Mats Naslund scored 18 seconds in against Quebec. (Courtesy Elias Sports Bureau)

102. Another game and another huge amount of hits combined between the two teams. After the two teams put up 93 hits in the first game, Florida and New Jersey combined for 102 in Game 2 with both hitting at least 50. New Jersey finished with two more hits than Florida. For the Panthers, Ed Jovanovski (seven) and Erik Gudbranson (six) led the hit parade.

Stephen Weiss
Playing in his second playoff game of his career, Stephen Weiss led by example, putting in two power play goals in helping the Cats to their first playoff win in a long time.

 2 Goals, 2 PPG, +1, 2 Shots, 19:15 TOI
Tied at a game a piece, the series now shifts to New Jersey for Game's 3 and 4. The two teams will look to get the advantage in the seven-game series on Tuesday at 7pm.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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