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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 4, Devils 3

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers
1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 2 2 0 4
DEVILS 3 0 0 0 3
FLA - K. Versteeg (10), K. Versteeg (11), SH - S. Weiss (8), T. Fleischmann (9)

NJD - I. Kovalchuk (4), P. Sykora (4), D. Zubrus (6)
SUNRISE, FLA (AP) - The Florida Panthers showed their former coach just how much they've improved.

Tomas Fleischmann scored at 17:57 in the third period and the Panthers beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Monday night.

Kris Versteeg scored two goals for Florida, and Stephen Weiss had a goal and an assist. Jose Theodore stopped 22 shots.

"I think what happened was over a 20-game span, you learn a little bit about your people and about your team and felt that staying the course was a good play and had nothing to do with coaching, it has to do with the quality of players and people that you have here...They just kept coming at them; they started the second period with a lot of tempo to our game and kinda got back to our game plan...We certainly have made some entertaining nights at the Bank Atlantic and tonight will certainly fit right in with that."

- Head coach Kevin Dineen on the Panthers comeback.
1. First Period Letdown: The Panthers came out guns a blazing in the opeing 10 minutes of the first period as they controlled play with their physicality (see Shawn Matthias' hit on Anton Volchenkov), power play (two power plays including a 5-on-3 for 54 seconds) and in the shot category (8-2) but it was the Devils that held a huge lead after running the table with nine consecutive shots while scoring on three of them within a span of 3:32. New Jersey scored on their third shot of the night as Ilya Kovalchuk scored into a wide open net. Then it was Petr Sykora scoring just 1:09 later. Dainus Zubrus finished off the Devils flurry at 11:49 of the first as he finished off an odd-man rush with a goal into the wide open cage. The Devils three goals left the Panthers and their fans reeling.

2. Killing The Momentum: Trailing by a goal and on the power play, things looked bleak for the Panthers as they took consecutive penalties 35 seconds apart (Tomas Fleischmann for holding and then Jack Skille for interference). Trying to kill off a 4-on-3, the Panthers were not only kill it but knot the score at three. The play all started when Mike Weaver as he blocked the shot from Patrik Elias. Stephen Weiss picked up the puck and raced down the ice with defenseman Jason Garrison. Weiss got the puck to Garrison who returned the pass to the center where he took a couple of strides after finding himself behind the defenders and wristed it top shelf for the equalizer. It didn't end there. With the Devils on a 5-on-3, the Panthers had to kill off 1:05 of two man advantage time. The trio of Weiss, Garrison and Weaver killed off some of the time before other Panthers rotated in and really didn't come into danger in allowing the Devils to regain the lead. It was a huge two minute swing in momentum.

3. Definitely Call It A Comeback: Trailing by three after the first period, the Panthers chipped away at it with two goals from Kris Versteeg in the second. Then came Weiss' efforts to knot it at three with 9:12 gone in the third. After the huge 5-on-3 kill, the Panthers had the momentum and a power play to boot as Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador took a penalty for delay of game. They couldn't convert but had some good chances. With time winding down and it looking like the teams would head to overtime, Weiss struck again. After tracking down a blocked shot in the corner, he found a wide open Fleischmann in the slot. Fleischmann faked the shot, worked his way to the left and outwaited Devils netminder Martin Brodeur where he put it top shelf over the downed goalie for the 4-3 advantage with 2:03 left on the clock. All that was left was to kill off the remaining two minutes and change and that's what the Panthers did. The three-goal comeback tied a franchise record for largest comeback in a game, matching a game in which they came back from 4-1 in the third period against Toronto on February 10, 2009. The last five minutes were probably the loudest it's been at the BankAtlantic Center this season.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@PantherSpoon: Great job #FlaPanthers! Was stuck on 2nd shift, but can't wait to get home and watch replay! #weseered #buzzin #inTallonwetrust

@davidlasseter: Honestly, if you're a South Florida sports fan, how are you not on board with this team? #Gethere #flapanthers #WeSeeRED

@BluLiner55: Now, how am I going to get to sleep? I'm way too pumped up. Not a bad problem in my opinion. :) LOVE THESE #FLAPANTHERS!

@amandaaKP: Huge comeback for @FlaPanthers tonight! Most exciting game/sport around! #weseered #FlaPanthers

@JessilynMorales: So this is what having a winning team is like? This feels GOOD #FlaPanthers

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Sebastian Lovas: No longer do I turn off the stream when we're getting beaten, this team can turn anything around. One of our best games this season imo. Sweet win!

Alex Delgado: WHAT A COMEBACKKKK...this was awesome, panther fan here from jersey aswell lol hahah love it

Vincent Biancardi: Mind is blown :) :) :)

Damen Montanez: All I have to say is the Panthers of old would have folded after the first period. This is a TOTALLY different team! 4 unanswered goals, 1 on a 4-3 short-handed breakaway and a hand-cuffer by flash for the win. Way to go Cats! Just have to watch the turnovers as I said on my post a few days ago... They CAN and WILL cost you!

Martin Johansson: Wow what an perfect ending on this monster comeback! Thx for the show guys!


3. New Jersey scored three goals in a matter of 3:32 of game play. It was the first time that the Cats allowed three goals in a period. Florida had allowed two goals in a single period on ten previous occasions. In the first period, Florida had been even stingier, allowing two goals just once prior to tonight (October 17 at Tampa Bay).

3. Talk about closing the door. The Panthers defense had a masterful third period as they allowed a season-low three shots in the final stanza. Florida had allowed four shots on net in a period twice before with the last time coming November 15 in Dallas (first period).

Trailing by three, the Panthers maticulously came back as they scored the game's final four goals. The three-goal comeback matched a franchise record for largest comeback in a contest (2/10/09 vs Toronto; down 4-1, win 5-4 in overtime).

7. The top line of Tomas Fleischmann, Stephen Weiss and Kris Versteeg dominated once again, recording seven of the team's 11 points and all four goals. Versteeg led the way with two goals while Weiss and Fleischmann chipped in with goals.

After being outshot 8-2, New Jersey kicked it up a notch or five, recording nine straight shots on Jose Theodore and the Panthers.
Stephen Weiss
Back-to-back Star of the Game appearances as Stephen Weiss scored the game-tying goal with the team shorthanded and then setting up the game-winner with 2:03 left to play as well as the Panthers first goal of the night.

1 Goal, 2 Assists, 3 Shots, 3 Hits, +4
Florida continues their four game homestand on Wednesday as they welcome the red-hot New York Rangers. New York has been off since Saturday when they were shut out by the Montreal Canadiens 4-0. Before that, they had rattled off seven consecutive victories. Winger Marian Gaborik leads the way for the Blueshirts with 15 points (nine goals) in 17 games while Henrik Lundqvist is 7-3-3 between the pipes with a 2.13 Goals Against Average and a .933 Save Percentage..

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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