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Post-Game Notes: Panthers 4, Devils 2

by Carly Peters / Florida Panthers

Florida earned its first playoff victory at BankAtlantic Center, moving to 1-3 in postseason play in Sunrise, all against the Devils.

The Panthers recorded their first playoff victory since a 3-0 win vs. the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on April 17, 1997.

Stephen Weiss’ goal just :23 into the opening period set a franchise playoff record for fastest goal to start a game and a period. (:30 Jody Hull at BOS, 4/24/96 and :29 Ray Sheppard 3rd period at PIT 5/20/96). According to Elias Sports Bureau, it was the fastest power-play goal in NHL playoffs history since Montreal’s Mats Naslund scored :18 into the game at Quebec on April 26, 1987. Marcel Goc netted a goal just :13 into the Panthers’ 5-3 win vs. Toronto on Feb. 28 this year.

In just his second career playoff game, Stephen Weiss notched his first playoff point with the opening goal, then became the first Panther in franchise history to score two power-play goals in a playoff game. He made his NHL playoff debut 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.

Marcel Goc tied his career high with two points (1-1-2) and now has three points (1-2-3) in two playoff games. He now has 12 points (4-8-12) in 45 playoff games.

Jose Theodore stopped 23-of-25 shots to earn his first playoff win in 10 appearances, since stopping 34-of-35 shots for Colorado vs. Minnesota on April 19, 2008.

Kris Versteeg netted an assist on Weiss’ first goal and now has two points (1-1-2) in two playoff games, toaling 34 points (12-22-34) in 52 career playoff 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).

Mikael Samuelsson notched an assist on Weiss’ opening goal after leading all players in Game 1 with two assists. He now has 56 points (22-34-56) in 94 career playoff games. The Stanley Cup winner totaled 28 points (13-15-28) in 48 games with Florida during the regular-season after registering a goal and two assists in three games with Vancouver to start the season.

In his second career playoff game, Jason Garrison netted his first playoff point with an assist on Weiss’ second goal. Heading into the year, he had totaled 26 points (7-19-26) in 113 career games spanning three seasons. He shattered that total by netting 33 points (16-17-33) in 77 games. His 16th goal on March 23 set a Panthers franchise record for most goals by a defenseman in a single season and he tied a franchise record for most power-play goals by a defenseman with 9 – just one second away from breaking the mark on March 13.

Sean Bergenheim tallied an assist on Goc’s goal, his second point in as many games after opening up Florida’s playoff scoring Friday. He now has 13 points (10-3-13) in 18 career playoff games. He totaled a career-high 17 goals in 62 regular-season games and his 15 points (9-6-15) in 27 regular-season games against New Jersey are his most against any NHL opponent.

Florida earned its second win in its seventh Game 2, having not won the second game of a series since taking a 6-2 win vs. Boston on April 22 in the 1996 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

After allowing a franchise-high 26 shots of the first period Friday, Florida limited the Devils to just four shots in the opening period.

Florida’s American Hockey League affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, clinched a spot in the AHL playoffs today after Charlotte lost to Milwaukee. The Rampage then earned a 1-0 win vs. Oklahoma City in San Antonio this afternoon, on the final day of the AHL regular season. Mark Cullen netted the lone goal while Jacob Markstrom earned the win with a 19-save shutout. San Antonio will face Chicago in the best-of-five Western Conference Quarterfinals, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday in San Antonio.

Two players missed the game with injuries, as Florida has now lost four man games to injury in the postseason, after losing 340 man games to injury during the regular season.

Tonight’s BankAtlantic Center attendance: 19,248 (sellout)

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, 7 p.m. (Sun Sports Florida, NHL Network, TSN)
Game 4: Thursday, April 19 at New Jersey, 7 p.m. (FS Florida, NHL Network, TSN)
Game 5: Saturday, April 21 vs. New Jersey 6:30 p.m. (NHL Network, TSN)
*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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