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Post-Game Notes: Panthers 3, Devils 0

by Carly Peters / Florida Panthers

A sellout crowd of 19,513 watched tonight’s game at BankAtlantic Center.  It’s the largest crowd for any playoff game the Panthers have played in – home or away – with tonight being Florida’s 36th playoff game in franchise history. Florida totaled 19,250 fans in both Games 3 and 4 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at the BankAtlantic Center.

Florida shut out its opponent for the third time in postseason history, previously earning a 3-0 victory vs. the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on April 17, 1997.

The Panthers now lead the series 3-2, earning a third victory for the first time since Game 6 of the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals (which they went on to win in Game 7).

Jose Theodore made 30 saves to earn his second win of the postseason and his 21st career playoff victory. It is his second career playoff shutout, previously stopping all 32 shots for Montreal in a 2-0 win at Boston on April 19, 2004.

Kris Versteeg opened the game’s scoring with a power-play goal and added an assist. He now has four points (2-2-4) in five playoff games, totaling 36 points (13-23-36) in 55 postseason games. Versteeg started the regular season by setting a franchise record for most points in the first 20 games of the season (11-14-25) and, despite missing 11 games (including nine late in the season with a lower-body injury) totaled career highs in points and goals, while matching his assist high (23-31-54).

Scottie Upshall scored his first goal of the postseason and now has three points (1-2-3) in five games. The goal marked his 10th point (4-6-10) in 24 career playoff games.

Shawn Matthias tallied his first career playoff point with an assist on Upshall’s goal. He set career highs in points, goals and assists (10-14-24) in 79 games this regular season.

Stephen Weiss tallied the primary assist on Versteeg’s goal and has three points (2-1-3) in five playoff games. He made his NHL playoff debut last Friday after skating 10 seasons with the Panthers, totaling 390 points (144-246-390) in 637 games. This season, he became the franchise leader in assists with his 232nd on Jan. 16 and the franchise leader for most games played with his 614th game on Feb. 23. He also ranks second in franchise history in points and fourth in goals.

Brian Campbell notched an assist on Versteeg’s goal and now has four points (1-3-4) in his last four games, totaling 42 points (9-33-42) in 95 career playoff games. He ranked T-2nd among all NHL defensemen with 53 points (4-49-53) in 82 games this regular season, while setting a franchise record for defensemen with 30 power-play assists and tying a franchise record for defensemen with 49 helpers.

Jerred Smithson totaled a game-high nine hits (matching his regular-season high) and was a perfect 6-for-6 in the faceoff circle in 11:10 TOI.

Defenseman Tyson Strachan was recalled from San Antonio (AHL) earlier in the day and made his NHL playoff debut, totaling a +1 rating and one blocked shot in 13:26 TOI.

The Panthers went 1-for-6 on the power play, moving to 7-for-22 in the series. Florida went 3-for-3 with the man advantage in their victory Tuesday, before going 0-for-6 in Thursday’s loss.

Florida moved to 3-2 in the fifth game of a playoff series. The Panthers played their first Game 5 since a 3-2 overtime loss that ended their run against the New York Rangers in the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and earned their first Game 5 victory since notching a 2-1 double-overtime win at Philadelphia in the 1996 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

All five games this series have started with a team grabbing a 3-0 lead.

Florida and New Jersey played in a scoreless first period for the second consecutive game.

Four Panthers missed the game with injury, including defenseman Keaton Ellerby, who missed his first game with a lower-body injury. Florida has now lost 13 man games to injury in the postseason, after losing 340 man games to injury during the regular season.
Game 1: Friday, April 13 vs. New Jersey – Devils 3, Panthers 2
Game 2: Sunday, April 15 vs. New Jersey – Panthers 4, Devils 2
Game 3: Tuesday, April 17 at New Jersey – Panthers 4, Devils 3
Game 4: Thursday, April 19 at New Jersey – Devils 4, Panthers 0
Game 5: Saturday, April 21 vs. New Jersey – Panthers 3, Devils 0
Game 6: Tuesday, April 24 at New Jersey TBD (TBD)
*Game 7: Thursday, April 26 vs. New Jersey TBD (TBD)
*If necessary

A complete review of the Panthers’ 2011-12 regular season, along with team and player postseason statistics can be accessed at:
The Panthers’ 2011-12 regular-season guide can be accessed at
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