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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 4, Devils 3

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 2 2 0 0 4
Devils 3 0 0 0 3
FLA - PP - S. Bergenheim (2), PP - J. Garrison, M. Weaver (1), PP - B. Campbell (1)
NJD - Z. Parise (1), S. Gionta (1), PP - P. Elias (2)
NEWARK, NJ (AP) - Brian Campbell scored on a second-period power play and the Florida Panthers staged their greatest playoff comeback in franchise history, rallying from an early three-goal deficit to defeat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Tuesday night.

Sean Bergenheim, Jason Garrison and Mike Weaver also scored and Scott Clemmensen made 19 saves after replacing Jose Theodore early in giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference first-round series.

"The story of this series has been the momentum swings. We're only three games in, but we've seen three goals up, three goals down. For us, we've proven we can come back from three goals down. They have proven to us that they can come back. It's a matter of perseverance for us and the unity in this room."

- Goaltender Scott Clemmensen.
1. Yet Another Quick Start: The first three games of the series have been all about getting off to a fast start. In Game 1 it was the Devils seizing control with three goals on the first as they held on for a 3-2 victory. In Game 2, Stephen Weiss scored 27 seconds in and the Panthers would build a three-goal lead and held on for a 4-2 victory. Unfortunately for the Panthers, Game 3 was a lot like Game 1 and not like Game 2 as the Devils scored three times in the opening 6:16 of play to seize control of the game. The scoring started just 33 seconds in as Zach Parise beat Jose Theodore X. Then less than three minutes later, Stephen Gionta redirected a Marek Zidlicky point shot past Theodore (3:27 mark). The Panthers had a good opportunity to get back in the game as they had a two-on-one shorthanded break but the play was broken up and the Devils capitalized at the other end of the ice. After pinballing around, Patrik Elias put the into the wide open net, chasing Theodore from the pipes just 6:16 into the game.

2. Striking Back To Take The Lead: The way the first two games had gone, you would have to expect the Panthers to push back. And that they did thanks in large part to their lethal power play of late. The comeback started  with less than four minutes in the first period. There Sean Bergenheim potted a power play goal, putting a rebound off a point shot off the end boards up and over Martin Brodeur (3:49 left). Then with 7.4 seconds remaining it was Jason Garrison letting rip a bomb from the point for the Cats second power play tally of the night. Down a goal after one, the Panthers could seized momentum. It was the first time Brodeur had been pulled from a playoff game since 2006. A little more than two minutes into the second, they chased Brodeur as Mike Weaver's soft wrist shot from the point found a way into the back of the net for a tied ball game. Florida then used the power play once again to take the lead. This time it was defenseman Brian Campbell scoring from the high slot 6:34 into the frame. Talk about a comeback.

3. Taking Back The Home-Ice Advantage: Scoring four-straight, the Panthers had the Devils on the ropes. The home team had their chances and thought to have actually tied the game with 1:24 left on the clock in the second. There Marek Zidlicky's point shot was deflected in and off of Scott Clemmensen. The goal was immediately waved off to the dismay of the home crowd but former Panther Steve Bernier had made contact with Clemmensen in the crease. Holding on to a one-goal lead after fourty minutes, it might have been the longest 20 minutes as the Panthers staved off a Devils attack in the third. New Jersey posted nine shots on net but Clemmensen stopped everyone of them. With a face-off with 8.4 seconds left, the Panthers denied a Devils shot and cleared the puck to kill off the remaining time. The victory gave the Panthers their second straight of the series. That win, putting them up 2-1, gave the Panthers home-ice advantage against the Devils. A huge night with a lot of heroes, led by the blueliners (three goals), power play units (three goals) and Clemmensen (entered down 3-0 and stopped all 19 Devils shots for his first Playoff victory).
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@mrbobzima: Holy Cats! The #FlaPanthers scored 4 in a row to pull game three out? WHAT! Did someone on that team sell their soul to the Devil?

@hockeychic8: Can you tell I'm excited tonight. #flapanthers playoff wins makes me that annoying tweeter that you just want to say #stfu to lol!!

@DR928: OUTSTANDING, UNBELIEVABLE EFFORT from the #FlaPanthers tonight! What a win! #VictoryRats

@brattyBT: #game3 #FlaPanthers another victory! That's a lot of red! Good game guys! @FlaPanthers

@dmcmahan22510: Congrats to the #FlaPanthers on their win tonight. Fantastic comeback from 0-3. With games like that, how could you NOT #BelieveRED?

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Jeremiah Rose: Fantastic Game! Looking forward to more like that!

DeAundre J. Graham: Great comeback win caught the game late but still watched

Sonny Rosen: an Epic comeback AND Victory rats on New Jersey ice! GO CATS GO!!!!!!

Debbie Castro: unbelievable!! Epic win today. great job guys!!

Terri Kring: WOW what a game!!!! Go panthers go panthers!!!!

1. Coming in for Jose Theodore, Scott Clemmensen stopped all 19 shots in picking up the first playoff victory of his career. To boot, Clemmensen notched an assist on the Panthers first goal of the night.

3. For the third time in the first three games, a team scored the first three goals of the game. The two teams have been alternating that stat with the Devils scoring the first three in Game's 1 and 3 while the Panthers netted the first three in Game 2. Tuesday night, the Devils scored three times in the first 6:16 of the game. Scoring the next four to take the game, it was the largest comeback victory in Panthers playoff history.

7.4. Down two goals in the first, Jason Garrison got the Panthers to within one with his power play bomb with just 7.4 seconds left on the clock, moving the visitors to within one goal after one.

9. Nine different Panthers got in on the action, including three defensemen. Three of those skaters registered two points on the night. Sean Bergenheim (first goal) and Brian Campbell (GW) had a goal and an assist while Scottie Upshall chipped in with two assists.

100. You usually see that stat when a team is one-for-one, maybe two-for-two on a power play, but the Panthers man advantage did work Tuesday night, scoring on all three chances. That bumps up their series power play percentage to 60% (6-of-10).

Sean Bergenheim
So many heroes in Game 3 that it was hard to choose one but went with the forward who started the scoring and set up Garrison to make it a one-goal game with seconds remaining in the first period.

 1 Goal, 1 Assist, -1, 3 Shots, 18:38 TOI
Taking the first game in New Jersey, the Panthers will try to get greedy and win Game 4 on Thursday night. Trailing 2-1 in the series, Florida will know the Devils will want to come back strong and do it early as they don't want to head back to Florida trailing 3-1 in the series.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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