2012 NHL Playoffs, Panthers Vs. Devils: Florida's Season Ends With Double Overtime Loss

The Florida Panthers staged a furious third period comeback to even it up in Game 7, but the Devils clinched the series with a goal early in the second overtime.

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Panthers Vs. Devils, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 7: Panthers Season Ends With 3-2 Double Overtime Loss

The Florida Panthers' remarkable 2011-2012 season came to a heartbreaking end on Thursday night in a double-overtime Game 7 loss to the New Jersey Devils. The Panthers staged a furious comeback in the third period, and kept on the attack in overtime but the Devils would win it early in the second overtime.

The Panthers carried over the momentum from the third period at the start of overtime, creating a couple excellent scoring chances right out of the locker room. But Brodeur turned them away to keep the Devils alive. Then, the overtime took a dramatic turn when Kris Versteeg was whistled for slashing Bryce Salvador, who skated off the ice injured, grimacing and holding his wrist. It's rare for a penalty to be called in overtime of the playoffs, but it appeared Versteeg did the necessary damage to be sent to the sin bin. An animated gif of the penalty below:

Versteeg_slash_medium

The power play completely swung momentum to the New Jersey Devils, who continued to control the puck and playing in the Florida zone after the initial Panther charge to start the overtime. The Devils kept up the pressure on Jose Theodore, but the Cats' netminder held strong to keep it scoreless and send it into a second overtime.

But it was not meant to be, as the Devils closed it out just four minutes into the second overtime. Adam Henrique, who opened the scoring almost four hours earlier, finished it off with a quick strike from center ice. Henrique beat Theodore with a quick wrist shot through the five-hole. The goal was set up by the Devils forecheck along the wall, which kept the puck in the zone and allowed Henrique to find some open space and bury the game winner. Video of the goal below:

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Panthers Vs. Devils, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 7: Panthers Tie It Up In Dramatic Fashion, Headed To Overtime

The Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils are headed to overtime in Game 7. After just two shots in the second period, the Florida offense came alive, titling the ice and peppering Martin Brodeur throughout the period. They had 18 shots on goal, and constant scoring chances.

It appeared the Cats finally got on the board just minutes into the third period, when it appeared Tomas Fleischmann scored. But the goal was immediately waved off when the referee ruled that Shawn Matthias interfered with Martin Brodeur. It looked like Mathias was pushed by Adam Henrique, and it was a questionable call at best. They refs have the option to call no goal and no penalty, but they opted to put Mathias in the box.

The Panthers finally broke through, scoring a power play goal to create some life with 15 minutes remaining in the third period. Stephen Weiss and Brian Campbell went back-and-forth with a couple touch passes out top. Campbell a pass right back Weiss for a one-timer, a perfect shot that went to the top shelf on the short side. Brodeur could not get across the crease in time, and Weiss got the shot off so quickly with exact precision.

Florida continued to apply constant and heavy pressure in the offensive zone, challenging Brodeur almost every minute with an excellent scoring chance. Then, with less than four minutes remaining Marek Zildicky was whistled for a delay of game call as he tried to hastily clear the puck during the assault by the Cats.

And the Panthers responded right away, prompt scoring the equalizing goal just three and half minutes before their season would have ended. The No. 1 penalty kill, the Devils killed off just under 90 percent of their penalties this season, but Florida scored nine times on the power play during the series. Marcel Goc was the one who tied it up, taking a rebound from the bad angle as he rushed to the net and slamming it home past Brodeur. Tomas Kopecky battled in front, creating a screen for the Sean Bergenheim shot which led to the big rebound off Brodeur. Video of the goal below:

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Panthers Vs. Devils, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 7: Florida Falls Behind 2-0 After 2nd Period

The New Jersey Devils extended their Game 7 lead over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, taking a 2-0 lead into the second intermission in Sunrise. The Florida offense has been sluggish so far, with scoring chances few and far between in the win-or-go-home matchup.

Stephen Gionta scored the second goal of the evening and his second of the series. Gionta did it with work down low, nabbing a rebound off a Peter Harrold shot from outside to beat Jose Theodore with a quick backhand flip over the glove and into the back of the net.

Martin Brodeur has been solid but not spectacular, as the Cats have forced him to stop only 14 shots so far. The Cats put only 14 shots on him in the entire Game 6, and had another slow second period with only two shots-on-goal. The Cats will need to amp up the pressure on the offensive end out of the gate in the third to keep their season alive.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Panthers Vs. Devils, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 7: New Jersey Breaks Through Early For 1-0 Lead

The Florida Panthers trail the New Jersey Devils, 1-0 after the first twenty minutes of their Game 7 matchup in Sunrise. The Cats outshot the Devils through the first period but could not break through against Martin Brodeur. New Jersey opened the scoring early, when Adam Henrique notched his first playoff goal just a minute and a half in to the game. Henrique took a nice feed from Anton Volchenkov to beat Jose Theodore for an early lead.

Florida would have two power play chances during the first period but went 0 for 2. The Cats will look to keep the pressure up in the zone and break through to tie it up in this evenly matched series. They've come from behind in far smaller deficits, and they'll hope to stop the Devils' momentum right out of the first intermission.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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2012 NHL Playoffs, Panthers Vs. Devils Game 7: Game Time, TV Coverage And More

Game 7, Panthers and Devils. Which team will rise to the occasion and move onto the second round of the Stanley Cup Finals?

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2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Devils Visit Sunrise, The Final Chapter

Showdown in Sunrise, tonight as the Florida Panthers host the New Jersey Devils in the final game of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals.

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Devils Vs. Panthers, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 6: New Jersey Forces Game 7 With 3-2 Overtime Win

The Panthers and Devils will play a winner-take-all Game 7 after Travis Zajac scored an overtime goal to clinch Game 6 for New Jersey on Tuesday night. The Devils peppered Scott Clemmensen all night, but the Cats played them to a draw through 60 minutes before Zajac finally broke the tie. New Jersey had plenty of opportunities, both on the power play and during five-on-five, to win it in the third period but they squandered each and every one, giving Florida life and a chance to end the series.

Zajac, however, would force Game 7 just over five minutes into OT with a low shot past the left pad of Clemmensen. Ilya Kovalchuk set up Zajac perfectly, drawing the Panthers' defense and then needling a pass through to Zajac, who was streaking down the left side. Video of the goal below:

It looked like the officials blew a tripping call on Devils' defenseman Andy Greene, who swiped at Kris Versteeg and took him down as the Florida forward was cutting to the net with a scoring chance. But the refs swallowed their whistle in overtime, and the Devils would end it five minutes later. The series now returns to Sunrise for a decisive Game 7 on Thursday night.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Devils Vs. Panthers, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 6: Cats Tie It Up, 2-2, In Second Period

After 40 minutes in Newark, the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils are tied 2-2. Despite being badly out-shot, the Cats clawed back to even scoring just two goals on four second-period shots.

The Devils took the 2-0 lead at the end of a power play, the first of the game. It was a perfectly executed play, rotating the puck for an open shot. Florida overplayed the left side of the ice and Ilya Kovalchuk skated in the back door for a wide open shot which he easily put in the back of the net. Video of the goal below:

But the Panthers finally broke through seven minutes into the second when Stephen Weiss carried it into the zone down the left wing, centering it to Kris Versteeg in front. Weiss showed good patience brining the puck all the way down the ice and cutting toward the net. Versteeg flashed in front of the crease and quickly put a low shot on net that snuck by Brodeur. It was the first shot of the period for the Cats, but they certainly made it count. Video of the goal:

Versteeg's goal marked the first time in the series neither team took a 3-0 lead in a game. The Cats would then even it up five minutes later with a Sean Bergenheim goal. The Devils pleaded for a penalty on the either end when Kovalchuk went down to the ice, but Florida went racing the other way. Tyson Strachan stepped up and fired a relatively easy shot for Brodeur to handle but it skirted through his legs and Bergenheim was there to scoop it up and dunk it in the back of the net. Video of the goal below:

The start of the third will be huge for Florida, as they will have to kill off the tail end of a Scottie Upshall roughing penalty. The Devils have been on the attack all evening, so killing off the first thirty seconds will be crucial.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Devils Vs. Panthers, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 6: Florida Falls Behind 1-0 After 1st Period

Looking to close out their first-round series in hostile territory, the Florida Panthers have struggled to get much going on the offensive end in Game 6. The Cats have put just six shots on New Jersey Devils' goaltender Martin Brodeur, while the Devils have peppered Scott Clemmensen through the first 20 minutes. Jersey finally broke the scoreless tie at the end of the first period to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. It was a conservative start for Florida.

The Devils took the 1-0 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the first period when Steve Bernier just threw it at the net from a tough angle for his second goal of the series. The sequence started off a Ryan Carter face-off win, and the Devils immediately started frenetically firing at Clemmensen. Peter Harrold made a nice play to keep the puck in the zone, and Bernier controlled a loose puck and front and simply turned around and fired it at the net. The puck slid right through the wickets of Clemmensen for the one-goal lead. Video of the goal below:

It was a clean period with no penalties, but Florida will look to get some rhythm on offense and challenge Brodeur in the second period.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: ECF Quarterfinals, Game Six Preview - Panthers Visit Devils

The Florida Panthers head to New Jersey for what could be the Devils last game this season. Can the Cats send the Devils home? Find out, tonight at 7:30.

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2012 NHL Playoffs, Devils Vs. Panthers Game 6: Game Time, TV Coverage And More

The Florida Panthers are enjoying their first trip to the Playoffs in quite some time, and if they can win their game on Tuesday, they would extend their stay another round. They currently lead the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in their first round series, but they will have to close things out in hostile environment if they don't want to return home for a Game 7 later this week.

Here is all the information you need to find this game on Tuesday night.

Game Date & Time: Tuesday, April 24th, 7:30 pm ET

Location: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

TV Schedule: NBC Sports Network

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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2012 NHL Playoffs: Sunday's Full Slate Of Games

The Florida Panthers may be off on Sunday in their series against the New Jersey Devils, but that does not mean the NHL playoff schedule is lacking. The Washington Capitals are just one win away from advancing to the semifinal round of the 2012 Eastern Conference Playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to win their third straight game against the Philadelphia Flyers after falling behind 3-0 in the series. Out West, the No. 8 seed is trying to down the No. 1 seed in convincing fashion.

Here is the complete schedule for NHL Playoff games to be played on Sunday:

Penguins Vs. Flyers: 12:00 p.m. ET, NBC

Bruins Vs. Capitals: 3:00 p.m. ET, NBC

Kings Vs. Canucks: 8:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

We'll have plenty more on this game throughout the evening, so be sure to follow this StoryStream for updates. For additional news and analysis related to the Florida Panthers and the 2012 NHL Playoffs, make sure to visit SB Nation's Panthers' blog, Litter Box Cats. Stay tuned to SB Nation Tampa Bay for more updates on all of Florida's teams.

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Panthers Vs. Devils, 2012 NHL Playoffs, Game 5: Florida Takes 3-2 Series Lead Over New Jersey

At this point, the Florida Panthers are one game away from punching their ticket to the second round of the NHL Playoffs. Facing the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 on Saturday at the BankAtlantic Center, the host Panthers, who entered the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, cruised with relative ease to a 3-0 victory.

Holding a 1-0 lead entering the final period, Florida took a comfortable two-goal lead after right winger Scottie Upshall found the back of the net around the 13-minute mark of the period. Here's a closer look at Upshall's goal.

Florida, however, didn't stop there, fellow right winger Tomas Kopecky shorthanded a last-minute goal, to further the Panthers' lead over the No. 6-seeded Devils.

For additional news and analysis related to the Florida Panthers and the 2012 NHL Playoffs, make sure to visit SB Nation's Panthers' blog, Litter Box Cats. Stay tuned to SB Nation Tampa Bay for more updates on all of Florida's teams.

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2012 NHL Playoffs, Panthers Vs. Devils, Game 5: Florida Takes 1-0 Lead After Two Periods

It was a quiet opening 20 minutes for the Florida Panthers, but things have quickly changed here in the second period of Game 5. Following a scoreless first period, Kris Versteeg netted a power-play goal about four minutes in, to give Florida a 1-0 lead. Stephen Weiss and Brian Campbell were credited with the assist.

Currently, Florida has had little trouble getting shots on goal, leading the Devils in that category with relative ease, 23-17 and 12-6 during the second period.

Here's a closer look at Versteeg's second-period goal.

A win tonight would give the Panthers a 3-2 lead over New Jersey in the best-of-seven series and allow them to maintain their home-ice advantage.

We'll have plenty more on this game throughout the evening, so be sure to follow this StoryStream for updates. For additional news and analysis related to the Florida Panthers and the 2012 NHL Playoffs, make sure to visit SB Nation's Panthers' blog, Litter Box Cats. Stay tuned to SB Nation Tampa Bay for more updates on all of Florida's teams.

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2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Devils Visit Panthers - Game Five Preview

Your mighty Panthers host the Devils later this afternoon at the BAC for game five in what is turning out to be a pretty evenly matched series. The teams have split their first four, with each team winning and losing on their home ice. New Jersey won the opener, 3-2 in Florida. The Panthers rebounded for a 4-2 game two home victory. Florida completed a comeback from a 3-0 deficit in game three to win, 4-3, and New Jersey pasted Florida in game four, 4-0.

There's four other game fives happening around the NHL tonight, The Washington Capitals visit the Boston Bruins with the two teams tied at two games apiece for a 3:00 matinee. At 7, the eighth seeded Ottawa Senators visit the New York Rangers with the series tied at two. The San Jose Sharks try to stay alive against the high powered St. Louis Blues, down three games to one, while Our Western Conference mirror twin, the Phoenix Coyotes, try to take the next step, up three to one against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Last night, the Philadelphia Flyers failed for the second time to push the Pittsburgh Penguins over the edge, losing 3-2 but still holding the advantage in the series, also 3-2. The Nashville Predators were the first team to move on to the second round, beating the Detroit Red Wings, 2-1. The Preds will now get a breather to wait and see who they will face later this week. The Los Angeles Kings visit the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow night for game five, leading the top seed three games to one.

The Panthers and Devils had faced each other four times during the regular season, with Florida posting a 2-1-1 record: won 4-3 in November, lost a 3-2 shootout in December, dropped a 5-2 matchup in January and won 3-1 in February. As for the regular season, Florida posted a 21-9-11 (.646) home record while the Devils were 24-15-2 (.610) away from The Rock.

Florida had high hopes, leading the series two-to-one headed into New Jersey for game four on Thursday night. Scott Clemmensen (1-1. .913, 2.11) allowed four goals on 27 shots in defeat, as Martin Brodeur (2-1, .908, 2.39) set a playoff record with his 24th career postseason shutout, facing down 26 Florida shots. After a scoreless first period, Zach Parise (2) opened the scoring for the Devils at the six minute mark of the second period, tipping in a Travis Zajac rebound on the power play. Marek Zidlicky also earned an assist. The Devils really put it out of reach early in the third, as Steve Bernier (1) scored just two minutes after taking the ice following the second intermission on a quick wrister with assists from Stephen Gionta and Martin Brodeur. Zajac (2) beat Clemmensen with a slapshot less than two minutes later, assisted by David Clarkson and Bryce Salvador. $100 million man Ilya Kovalchuk (2) capped the scoring with 11 minutes remaining, scoring another power play marker against Clemmensen for the final margin, 4-0. Peter Harrold and Salvador earned assists on the goal. Afterwards, Stephen Weiss spoke about Brodeur:

Marty made some big saves and was good … they were desperate but we're going home where two out of the next three games will take place. We knew [Brodeur] would be ready to go [Thursday] and he made good saves when he had to. Now we have to find a way to get some past him.

Common Thread

Florida's Clemmensen posted a 32-19-5 record for the Devils over parts of five seasons. He had a .910 save percentage and a 2.54 goals against average with four shutouts during his time there. He has one game of playoff experience, and that came with the Devils six seasons ago, as he recorded saves on each of the three shots he faced.

Fourth line center John Madden played the bulk of his NHL career in New Jersey. In 712 games over 10 seasons, he totalled 140 goals and 157 assists with a plus-35 rating and 193 penalty minutes. He also won two Stanley Cups with the team, in 112 career postseason matchups with the Devils, he scored 20 goals and 21 assists with a plus-three rating and 24 penalty minutes.

Devils fourth line winger Steve Bernier scored five goals and 10 assists over 68 games with the Panthers last season. He also registered a minus-14 rating with 21 penalty minutes.

Another fourth line wing, Ryan Carter, began this season with Florida. Over parts of two seasons, he played 19 games, scoring two goals and an assist with a plus-two rating and 28 penalty minutes.

Postseason Leaders:

Panthers

Goals:
Stephen Weiss, Sean Bergenheim - 2
Tomas Fleischmann, Marcel Goc, Kris Versteeg, Mike Weaver, Jason Garrison, Brian Campbell - 1

Assists:
Mikael Samuelsson - 4
Marcel Goc, Scottie Upshall, Brian Campbell, Tomas Fleischmann, Sean Bergenheim - 2

Points:
Mikael Samuelsson, Sean Bergenheim - 4
Marcel Goc, Tomas Fleischmann, Brian Campbell - 2

Plus/Minus:
Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg, Mike Weaver - plus-1
Keaton Ellerby, Stephen Weiss - even

Devils

Goals:
Patrik Elias, Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac - 2

Assists:
David Clarkson, Bryce Salvador - 3
Martin Brodeur, Marek Zidlicky, Travis Zajac - 2

Points:
Travis Zajac - 4
Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Bryce Salvador, David Clarkson - 3

Plus/Minus:
Bryce Salvador - plus-4
Marek Zidlicky, Stephen Gionta - plus-3

Injuries
Panthers:
Jack Skille is still out until next season while Matt Bradley remains tantalizingly close to returning to action. Jason Garrison missed game four with an injury, and while coach Kevin Dineen remains "cautiously optimistic" about a quick return, the Panthers also recalled defenseman Tyson Strachan from San Antonio earlier today to cover their bases. Keaton Ellerby is also likely shelved with a lower body injury.

Devils:
Jacob Josefson is out with a broken clavicle, and Henrik Tallinder is listed as "doubtful" for the playoffs.

Probable Starting Lineups

Panthers

Forwards:
Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Mikael Samuelsson
Wojtek Wolski - Shawn Matthias - Scottie Upshall
Marco Sturm - John Madden - Tomas Kopecky

Defensemen:
Dmitry Kulikov - Brian Campbell
Ed Jovanovski - Mike Weaver
Tyson Strachan - Erik Gudbranson

Goaltender:
Jose Theodore (1-1, .884, 3.84) will probably get the start after a nice break. Scott Clemmensen (1-1. .913, 2.11) will likely play bench tonight.

Devils

Forwards:
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Defensemen:
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Goaltender:
Martin Brodeur (2-1, .908, 2.39) will probably start the remainder of New Jersey's playoff series with Florida, Johan Hedberg (0-1, .929, 1.67) remains available.

For more advanced stats, check here.

Final Standings

Panthers: 38-26-18, .573, 94 points, first Southeast Divison, third Eastern Conference, 14th NHL.

Devils: 48-28-6, .622, 102 points, fourth Atlantic Division, sixth Eastern Conference, ninth NHL.

Prognostication

Before last game, I said that game four was the only one that we could afford to lose. That remains the case tonight, as Florida cannot afford to lose on home ice. Game five winners usually end up winning the series when tied after four, and this one should prove no exception. New Jersey remains capable of great destructive power for short bursts, and the key in defeating them remains in shutting them down. Florida also has to watch out for the mighty Brodeur, who already has two assists in the series. Shutting down the lanes, passing and shooting, will give the Cats a chance to break out. The Devils penalty kill, so ineffective through the first three games (40% success rate), remembered they were good at it for game four, shutting down the Panthers on all six Devils penalties. While Brodeur hasn't lost a step in terms of his renowned passing ability, he still suffers from the occasional fat-reboundotosis. Florida has to work at parking one of their bigger bodies right down in front and screening Brodeur if they want to beat him. I'm going to not predict a score down here, because when I do, the Panthers lose. I will say that Shawn Matthias and Kris Versteeg are due for something, anything, and that Jose Theodore will be the biggest reason that Florida comes away with a win tonight.

For more on this matchup, check out our opponents at In Lou We Trust. Join us right here at 5:30 tonight when the first ever LBC Game Five Playoff Game Thread goes live!

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2012 NHL Playoffs: Complete Schedule For Saturday's Games

Saturday in the 2012 NHL Playoffs will be a critical day, as five series will play a Game 5, with the Florida Panthers matchup with the New Jersey Devils being of most importance to local fans. Puck drop in the Florida game is 6:30 p.m. ET, and can be seen on NHL Network.

As for the other pivotal contests, here is the complete schedule for NHL Playoff games to be played on Saturday:

Capitals Vs. Bruins: 3:00 p.m. ET, NBC

Devils Vs. Panthers: 6:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network

Senators Vs. Rangers: 7:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

Sharks Vs. Blues: 7:30 p.m. EST, CNBC

Blackhawks Vs. Coyotes: 10:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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2012 NHL Playoffs, Panthers Vs. Devils Game 5: Game Time, TV Coverage And More

After dropping Game 4 to Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils 4-0, the Florida Panthers look to regroup in Game 5 at home and take a 3-2 lead in their opening round Eastern Conference playoff series.

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Devils Vs. Panthers, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 4: New Jersey Evens Series With 4-0 Win

The New Jersey Devils responded in the big way on Thursday night, evening their first round series with the Florida Panthers at 2-2. The Devils turned it on over the final half of Game 4 to defeat the Cats, 4-0. New Jersey squandered a three-goal lead in Game 3, and went looking for answers after Martin Brodeur was pulled in the second period of a tie game. But the Hall-of-Fame goaltender bounced back just fine, stopping all 25 shots on goal and clinching his 24th career playoff shutout. He surpassed Patrick Roy for the playoff record with the shutout.

Taking a 1-0 lead into the third period, the Devils quickly slammed the door and extended their lead. New Jersey scored two goals in the first four minutes of the third period, and Florida would never threaten after that. Steve Bernier scored his first goal of the playoffs two minutes in, taking a feed from Stephen Gionta and beating Scott Clemmensen for the 2-0 lead. Just a minute and a half later, Travis Zajac added another against Clemmensen. Ilya Kovalchuk would close the book on the scoring, with his second of the series. Peter Harrold sent a beautiful cross-ice pass right through the defense to Kovalchuk who fired a high shot over the glove of Clemmensen.

The series now moves back to South Florida, where the Panthers will look to take a pivotal Game 5 on Saturday evening in Sunrise.

For more on the two teams, head over to Florida Panthers blog Litter Box Cats and New Jersey Devils blog In Lou We Trust. You can find more on every NHL Playoffs series over at SB Nation's NHL hub.

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Devils Vs. Panthers, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 4: New Jersey Takes 1-0 Lead After 2 Periods

After 40 minutes in Newark, the New Jersey Devils lead the Florida Panthers 1-0 in Game 4 of their first round series. Both goaltenders have looked solid so far, coming on the heels of both starters getting pulled in Game 3. The Devils, however, converted their first power play chance to take the lead.

The Devils ended the Scott Clemmensen shutout just over six minutes into the second period, as Zach Parise scored his second goal of the series. The Devils were on the power play after a Keaton Ellerby high-sticking penalty, and the scoring sequence started with nice hit by Parise in the corner to keep the puck in the zone. Marek Zidlicky fired a shot from out top in the center of the ice, and Travis Zajac and Parise were camped out in front. Both ended up deflecting the shot but Parise's deflection was a nice little chip that popped the puck up and over the left shoulder of Clemmensen. It was the one way New Jersey broke the red-hot Panthers' netminder, who's looked good again in Game 4.

Of concern for the Cats, Ellerby limped off the ice after he was ridden into the the boards by Stephen Gionta as the Devils opened the bench door to the ice. Ellerby's knee slammed against the open angle, and he went to the dressing room with a significant limp, which forced the Cats to play with 5 defensemen.

For more on the two teams, head over to Florida Panthers blog Litter Box Cats and New Jersey Devils blog In Lou We Trust. You can find more on every NHL Playoffs series over at SB Nation's NHL hub.

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Panthers Vs. Devils Score, 2012 NHL Playoffs: Scoreless At First Intermission In Game 4

Both Scott Clemmensen and Martin Brodeur have been extremely sharp in the first period of Game 4 between the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers. It's been a fairly open game with plenty of shots on goal for both teams, but no one has been able to find the net, and it's 0-0 at first intermission.

Devils forward Steve Bernier has been an always physical and occasionally controversial figure in this series, and he asserted himself early in this one with an absolutely massive clear hit on Keaton Ellerby that set the tone for the game.

Bighit_medium

That's a pretty representative microcosm of exactly what the Devils tried to do in the first period. They've recorded 17 hits so far, in stark contrast to Florida's three hits recorded. Though they've allowed the Panthers to create too many shots for their liking, they're still imposing their style on the game and they have to feel good about being the more physical team heading into the second period.

For more on the two teams, head over to Florida Panthers blog Litter Box Cats and New Jersey Devils blog In Lou We Trust. You can find more on every NHL Playoffs series over at SB Nation's NHL hub.

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2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Panthers Visit Devils, Game Four Preview

Tonight, the Panthers face the Devils in New Jersey for Game Four in the best of seven series. Can the Cats put the Devils in a 3-1 hole?

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Devils Vs. Panthers, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 3: Cats Hold On For Dramatic Comeback Win

After a flurry of goals over the first thirty minutes, the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils were scoreless in the second half of Game 3 as the Cats clinched a 4-3 win to take a 2-1 lead in the series. The Cats showed a ton of resiliency, bouncing back from a three-goal deficit in the first seven minutes of the game. Scott Clemmensen, who came on in relief of Jose Theodore, was excellent stopping all 19 shots sent his way over the final 53 minutes of the game.

It was a huge comeback win for the Panthers, and one that can turn a series with Martin Brodeur getting pulled early in the second period in a tie game. The win was clinched on the power play, as the Cats went a perfect three for three with a man advantage. Florida then played disciplined over the second half of the game, getting whistled for only one penalty in the third period which they killed off without incident.

The Devils ramped up the pressure at the end of the game, but Clemmensen stood tall and turned away all potential game-tying chances. Florida did get a huge assist from New Jersey, however, as the Devils' captain Zach Parise had an open-net chance to tie it up but put it wide of the post and off the side. An animated gif the missed shot below:

Devils_miss_medium

New Jersey has now lost eight of their last eleven home playoff games, and the Panthers enter Game 4 with all the momentum. It will be interesting to see if Kevin Dineen sticks with Clemmensen in Game 4, scheduled for Thursday night in Newark.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Devils Vs. Panthers, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 3: Florida Perfect On Power Play, Scores Four Unanswered To Take Lead

After quickly falling behind by three goals to start Game 3 against the New Jersey Devils, the Florida Panthers stormed back with four unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead. The Cats' four goals came in a ten minute span at the end of the first period and start of the second period, chasing Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur early in the second. But his replacement, Johan Hedberg, wasn't on the ice long before letting in the go-ahead goal. Both starting goaltenders have now been removed, with Jose Theodore exiting early after allowing three goals in the first six minutes. The Cats have been amazing on the power play, going a perfect three for three to get right back in it after an ugly start.

Mike Weaver, who did not score a goal all season, evened it up for the Panthers with a puck that somehow found its way through traffic in front. Weaver controlled the puck at the right point, and simply put a wrister on net that went through the screen of Scottie Upshall and tied it at 3-3 early in the second period. Video of the goal below:

Just four minutes later, the Panthers would take the lead on their third power play goal of the game. It started with a great face-off win in the zone, with Mikael Samuelsson controlling the puck out top. He would rotate the puck over to Brian Campbell, who had a ton of room, taking advantage of Ilya Kovalchuk who came out too far. Campbell had so much room he could have taken it all the way to the net but he rocketed a wrist shot through a screen and under the arm of Hedberg to give the Cats their first lead of the game. Video of the goal below:

Campbell did not score a goal all year on the road, but it didn't take long for him to tally one in the playoffs. It was the first time the Devils had allowed three power play goals in a game in almost a year and a half.

At the end of the period, it appeared the Devils tied it up as a Marek Zidlicky shot from the point went through the legs of Scott Clemmensen. But the goal was immediately waved off, as the referee ruled interference on Steve Bernier, who tripped and fell on top of the leg of Florida's netminder. It was ruled that he fell on his own, and not at the hands of an Ed Jovanovski shove. An animated gif of the play below:

Bernier_interference_medium

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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2012 NHL Playoffs, Devils Vs. Panthers: Panthers Crawl Back With Consecutive Goals

It wasn't the best start for the Florida Panthers, as the New Jersey Devils opened Game 3 at the Prudential Center with three consecutive goals, building a hefty three-goal lead. But quickly, the Panthers climbed back into it.

With just under four minutes left, left winger Sean Bergenheim scored on a power-play goal. His shot was soon followed by another power-play goal from Jason Garrison, as Florida came back to trail just 3-2 at the end of the first period. Garrison's goal was particularly timely, as it came with less than 10 seconds left.

Florida finished the period with 10 shots on goal, compared to seven from New Jersey.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Panthers Visit Devils: Conference Quarterfinal Game Three Preview

The Panthers and Devils are tied at two games apiece. Can your Florida Panthers take back the home ice advantage with a win tonight?

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2012 NHL Playoffs, Devils Vs. Panthers: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The Florida Panthers got off a serious schnide over the weekend when they registered their first Playoff victory in nearly 15-years. But now they are tied at 1-1 in a Playoff series against the New Jersey Devils that they have a very legitimate shot at winning; especially if they can get a win in Game Three on Tuesday. Things get a little bit tougher for them as they have to take the long trip up the east coast to beautiful Newark, New Jersey where they will play Game 3 on Tuesday.

Here are all the details you need to find the game on Tuesday.

Game Date & Time: Tuesday, April 17th, 7 pm ET

Location: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

TV Schedule: NHL Network

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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2012 NHL Playoffs: Complete Schedule For Monday's Games

The Florida Panthers will not be in action on Monday night, but there will still be plenty of opportunities for you to get your Playoff hockey fix. There are three games on the schedule, and all three are the third n a series tied at 1-1, which makes them crucial gets for all the teams in action. As if every Playoff game wasn't already so important. . .

Here is the complete schedule of games to be played on Monday night.

Rangers Vs. Senators: 7:30 pm ET, CNBC: Series tied 1-1

Bruins Vs. Capitals: 7:30 pm ET, NBC Sports Network: Series tied 1-1

Blues Vs. Sharks: 10:00 pm ET, NBC Sports Network: Series tied 1-1

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Panthers Earn First Postseason Victory in 14 Years And 364 Days, Beat New Jersey, 4-2

First Period:

The teams took the ice in front of an announced crowd of 19,248. The Cats won the opening faceoff, and 11 seconds later would get their first power play opportunity of the night when Andy Greene tripped Marcel Goc behind the Devils net. Just 12 seconds later, Stephen Weiss would score his first career playoff goal, flipping the puck over Martin Brodeur’s shoulder with assists from Kris Versteeg and Mikael Samuelsson.

At the seven minute mark, Zach Parise put a move on Jose Theodore, and Ilya Kovalchuk gathered up the rebound and slid it by him, harmlessly clanking off the post. In killing the play, Dmitry Kulikov inadvertently slapped the puck over the glass for a two minute delay of game penalty. The Devil’s power play proved fruitless, as Florida killed it very effectively, clearing the puck four times, and getting a chance against Brodeur. John Madden held the puck by himself in the Devil’s zone for almost ten seconds.

The Panthers went the last 16 minutes without a shot on goal. The teams had combined for a total of seven shots on goal through the first 16 minutes of the game in what is turning out to be a very physical matchup.

With 30 seconds left in the period, the Devils went two men down when David Clarkson was called for charging Jason Garrison and Alexei Ponikarovsky was called for high-sticking. The two man advantage will be in effect for the first 1:43 of the second period.

Second Period:

The period opened with the Panthers on a two man advantage for 1:43. The Cats won the opening faceoff, and got the puck into the New Jersey zone immediately. After cycling the puck for a while, Jason Garrison got a good looking one timer, right into Brodeur’s chest. Garrison got another shot a moment later which Brodeur again saved, but Weiss picked up the rebound and stuck it home for his second goal of the night. Garrison and Marcel Goc would be credited with the assists on the play.

The Devils would get a chance with a man advantage at the two minute mark when Mikael Samuelsson hooked Zach Parise. The Panthers were again up to the task allowing only one shot on goal. Tomas Kopecky got a good looking shorthanded opportunity with a breakaway against Brodeur.

The Panthers would go back on the power play when Ryan Carter hooked Mike Weaver. This time, the Devils record setting penalty kill was effective.

Kovalchuk found Parise across the ice right in front of Theodore at the 11 minute mark for what should have been a slam dunk goal, but Theo made a terrific sliding stick save to preserve the shutout.

The Panthers went up 3-0 with five minutes remaining in the period when Marcel Goc put home a Garrison rebound between Brodeur’s pads. Brian Campbell and Sean Bergenheim earned assists on the play.

Third Period:

As the third period opened, the Devils appeared to be skating with fresh desperation. They broke the scoreboard seal early, beating Theodore on their first shot of the period, just one minute into play by Travis Zajac. Assists were earned on the score by Andy Greene and Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored for the Devils again just one minute later, pulling the Devils within one on a cross-ice feed in front of Jose Theodore from Adam Henrique.

The Devils kept the puck in the Panthers zone for just over a full minute with 12 minutes remaining. The Devils reeled off several shots in the general direction of the goal before the Panthers finally cleared the puck.

The Panthers woke up after that, and the teams traded chances for most of the period.

With 1:15 remaining, the Devils pulled Brodeur for a sixth skater as the Devils mounted a final furious assault on Theodore. The Panthers cleared the puck several times, and committed an icing penalty with 7.6 seconds remaining in the game. After calling a timeout, the Panthers cleared the zone and Tomas Fleischmann iced the game into an empty net, making the final score 4-2.

Hits: Devils 52-50 (Alexei Ponikarovsky and Bryce Salvador had six each for New Jersey, while Ed Jovanovski led all skaters with seven).

Blocked Shots: Panthers 18-12 (Ed Jovanovski and Shawn Matthias each had three for the Panthers, three skaters tied for the New Jersey lead with two each).

Faceoffs: Panthers 29-24 (Marcel Goc won 10-of-15 to lead Florida, while John Madden pitched in with an 8-for-14 effort. Travis Zajac won 13-of-17 for the Devils).

Shots on Goal: Devils 25-23 (Zach Parise led all skaters with six, Kris Versteeg led the Panthers with four).

Score:
Panthers 4, Devils 2

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Panthers Take A 3-0 Lead Into Final Period Over Devils

The period opened with the Panthers on a two man advantage for 1:43. The Cats won the opening faceoff, and got the puck into the New Jersey zone immediately. After cycling the puck for a while, Jason Garrison got a good looking one timer, right into Brodeur’s chest. Garrison got another shot a moment later which Brodeur again saved, but Weiss picked up the rebound and stuck it home for his second goal of the night. Garrison and Marcel Goc would be credited with the assists on the play.

The Devils would get a chance with a man advantage at the two minute mark when Mikael Samuelsson hooked Zach Parise. The Panthers were again up to the task allowing only one shot on goal. Tomas Kopecky got a good looking shorthanded opportunity with a breakaway against Brodeur.

The Panthers would go back on the power play when Ryan Carter hooked Mike Weaver. This time, the Devils record setting penalty kill was effective.

Kovalchuk found Parise across the ice right in front of Theodore at the 11 minute mark for what should have been a slam dunk goal, but Theo made a terrific sliding stick save to preserve the shutout.

The Panthers went up 3-0 with five minutes remaining in the period when Marcel Goc put home a Garrison rebound between Brodeur’s pads. Brian Campbell and Sean Bergenheim earned assists on the play.

Hits: Devils 38-36 (Steve Bernier and Bryce Salvador have five each for New Jersey, while Erik Gudbranson, Ed Jovanovski leads the Panthers with six).

Blocked Shots: Devils 10-7 (Steve Bernier, Marek Zidlicky, and Anton Volchenkov, Ed Jovanovski and Shawn Matthias each have two apiece).

Faceoffs: Panthers 19-13 (Marcel Goc has won 7-of-10 to lead Florida, Travis Zajac is 8-of-11 for the Devils).

Shots on Goal: Panthers 14-12 (Zach Parise leads all skaters with three, several Panthers have two).

Score: Panthers 3, Devils 0

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Stephen Weiss Collects First Career Playoff Goal, Panthers Lead, 1-0

The Cats won the opening faceoff, and 11 seconds later would get their first power play opportunity of the night when Andy Greene tripped Marcel Goc behind the Devils net. Just 12 seconds later, Stephen Weiss would score his first career playoff goal, flipping the puck over Martin Brodeur’s shoulder with assists from Kris Versteeg and Mikael Samuelsson.

At the seven minute mark, Zach Parise put a move on Jose Theodore, and Ilya Kovalchuk gathered up the rebound and slid it by him, harmlessly clanking off the post. In killing the play, Dmitry Kulikov inadvertently slapped the puck over the glass for a two minute delay of game penalty. The Devil’s power play proved fruitless, as Florida killed it very effectively, clearing the puck four times, and getting a chance against Brodeur. John Madden held the puck by himself in the Devil’s zone for almost ten seconds.

The Panthers went the last 16 minutes without a shot on goal. The teams had combined for a total of seven shots on goal through the first 16 minutes of the game in what is turning out to be a very physical matchup.

With 30 seconds left in the period, the Devils went two men down when David Clarkson was called for charging Jason Garrison and Alexei Ponikarovsky was called for high-sticking. The two man advantage will be in effect for the first 1:43 of the second period.

Hits: Devils 22-21 (Ponikarovsky and Bryce Salvador have four each for New Jersey, while Erik Gudbranson, Ed Jovanovski and Mikael Samuelsson led the Panthers with three each).

Blocked Shots: Devils 7-2 (Marek Zidlicky and Bryce Salvador lead all skaters with two apiece).

Faceoffs: Devils 8-7 (Travis Zajac has won 3-of-5 to lead the Devils, John Madden has won only 1-of-4 for the Panthers).

Shots on Goal: Devils 4-3 (Zach Parise leads all skaters with two).

Score: Panthers 1, Devils 0

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Devils Visit Panthers: NHL Quarterfinals Game Two Preview

The New Jersey Devils continue their visit with the Panthers tonight at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida at 7:30 PM ET. Playoffs are happening everywhere, and anything seems possible. The Los Angeles Kings are playing David to the Vancouver Canucks Goliath, up two games to zero and headed back to the Staples Center. The Philadelphia Flyers are also up two-nil on the Stanley Cup favorite Pittsburgh Penguins. Yesterday afternoon, the Washington Capitals and their rookie goaltender took the defending champion Boston Bruins to two overtimes before evening the series at one apiece. Later on, eighth seeded Ottawa Senators took the home ice advantage from the powerhouse New York Rangers by taking a 3-2 overtime victory at MSG. The favored St. Louis Blues evened their series with the San Jose Sharks, 3-0 on home ice. The Detroit Red Wings and the Nashville Predators remain tied at one, and the Phoenix Coyotes took the Chicago Blackhawks to overtime before allowing them to tie the series at one.

The Panthers and Devils had faced each other four times during the regular season, with Florida posting a 2-1-1 record: won 4-3 in November, lost a 3-2 shootout in December, dropped a 5-2 matchup in January and won 3-1 in February. As for the regular season, Florida posted a 21-9-11 (.646) home record while the Devils were 24-15-2 (.610) on the road.

After the debacle of the first period on Friday, many around the media were nodding their heads and saying, “I told you so,” as the Devils jumped out to a 3-0 lead, blowing the doors off of Jose Theodore with 26 first period shots. Goals were tallied by Patrik Elias, Dainius Zubrus, and Ryan Carter in the first period. Theodore remarked after the game about the siege,

Obviously in the playoffs you think it’s more defensive, but they’ve got experience, they came out ready. For myself, I don’t remember the last time I had 26 shots in a period. I was just trying to give my team a chance to win and make every save, but obviously they kept coming pretty hard.

Florida stormed back in the second period, as Sean Bergenheim showed some more of that playoff magic, scoring the first Panthers postseason goal in 12 years. Kris Versteeg pulled the Panthers within one with a power play marker later on, but the Devils came out in the third and clamped down on the Cats, running that old 1-3-1 which famously made New Jersey the most boring team ever to win the cup. Because it’s the cup.

Common Thread:

Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen posted a 32-19-5 record for the Devils over parts of five seasons. He had a .910 save percentage and a 2.54 goals against average with four shutouts during his time there. He also registered his only playoff experience, playing seven minutes back in 2006, making saves on each of the three shots he faced. He’d like to keep that save percentage steady, I can assure you.

Panthers fourth line center John Madden played the bulk of his NHL career in New Jersey. In 712 games over 10 seasons, he totalled 140 goals and 157 assists with a plus-35 rating and 193 penalty minutes. He also won two Stanley Cups with the team, in 112 career postseason matchups with the Devils, he scored 20 goals and 21 assists with a plus-three rating and 24 penalty minutes.

Devils fourth line winger Steve Bernier scored five goals and 10 assists over 68 games with the Panthers last season. He also registered a minus-14 rating with 21 penalty minutes.

The Devils other fourth line winger, Ryan Carter, began this season with Florida. Over parts of two seasons, he played 19 games, scoring two goals and an assist with a plus-two rating and 28 penalty minutes.

PostSeason Leaders

Panthers
Goals:

Kris Versteeg – 1
Sean Bergenheim – 1

Assists:
Mikael Samuelsson – 2
Marcel Goc – 1
Tomas Fleischmann – 1

Points:
Mikael Samuelsson – 2
Marcel Goc – 1
Sean Bergenheim – 1
Kris Versteeg – 1
Tomas Fleischmann – 1

Plus/Minus:
Most of the team – 0
7, 9, 20, 26, 55 – minus-1

Devils
Goals:

Dainius Zubrus – 1
Ryan Carter – 1
Patrik Elias – 1

Assists:
Dainius Zubrus – 1
Bryce Salvadore – 1
David Clarkson – 1

Points:
Dainius Zubrus – 2
Ryan Carter – 1
Patrik Elias – 1
Bryce Salvador – 1
David Clarkson – 1

Plus/Minus:
Eight Devils tied at plus-1

Injuries

Panthers:
Jack Skille will be back next season while Matt Bradley may be available in the near future. Krys Barch, Jerred Smithson, Keaton Ellerby and Mike Santorelli are scratched.

Devils:
Jacob Josefson is out with a broken clavicle, and Henrik Tallinder is listed as “doubtful” for the playoffs.

Probable Starting Lineups (based on Friday’s lineup)

Panthers
Forwards:

Tomas Fleischmann – Stephen Weiss – Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim – Marcel Goc – Mikael Samuelsson
Wojtek Wolski – Shawn Matthias – Scottie Upshall
Marco Sturm – John Madden – Tomas Kopecky

Defensemen:
Jason Garrison – Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov – Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski – Erik Gudbranson

Goalie:
Jose Theodore (0-1, .921, 3.06) is to make another start after stonewalling the Devils through the last 40 minutes of game one.

Devils
Forwards:

Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora – Patrik Elias – Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky – Adam Henrique – David Clarkson
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier

Defensemen:
Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador – Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov – Peter Harrold

Goalie:
Martin Brodeur (1-0, .923, 2.01) has been confirmed as the starter between the pipes.

Corsi Ratings (season)

Panthers:
Sean Bergenheim – .532
Marcel Goc – .524
Jason Garrison – .523
Scottie Upshall – .519
Brian Campbell – .518

Devils:
Alexei Ponikarovsky – .556
Marek Zidlicky – .542
Jacob Josefson – .534
Petr Sykora – .527
Patrik Elias – .522
Final Standings

Panthers: 38-26-18, .573, 94 points, first Southeast Divison, third Eastern Conference, 14th NHL.

Devils: 48-28-6, .622, 102 points, fourth Atlantic Division, sixth Eastern Conference, ninth NHL.

Prognostication

It was a great day for all of the mainstream media who have been calling us pretenders all season long. Luckily, Theodore kept his head and finished strong, his save percentage just about equal to “living legend” Martin Brodeur. The Devils exposed some defensive liabilities early in the game, as Dmitry Kulikov was caught flat-footed on the second New Jersey goal and Ed Jovanovski showed some signs of age. Jason Garrison couldn’t get the puck on the net in the offensive zone, and Erik Gudbranson is, um, a rookie. I said it in the game one preview, and I’ll repeat it here, the key to a victory tonight is not in blowing Brodeur away with an unending barrage, but in containing the Devils top two lines. As they were all season, they will also be key today, Mike Weaver and Brian Campbell need to come up big. My prediction didn’t come true last time, but I won’t let it stop me. Florida goes 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and ends up winning, 2-1 in overtime.

For all your Florida Panther needs, check out the Litter Box Cats. For more on this matchup, check out our opponents at In Lou We Trust.

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Devils Vs. Panthers, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 2: Florida Still Looking For First Playoff Win Since 1997

The Florida Panthers, in the playoffs for the first time since 2000, find themselves in an 0-1 hole in their 2012 Eastern Conference playoffs opening round series despite a valiant comeback in Game 1 against the New Jersey Devils. The Panthers fell behind 3-0 early in Game one before clawing their way back only to fall 3-2.

Florida takes the ice at BankAtlantic Center again Sunday, looking to win their first playoff game since 1997. To do so, Florida must beat New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur, who saved 24 of the 26 Panthers' shots he faced in the opening game of the series. Brodeur has beaten Florida a whopping 42 times in his career.

The Panthers do not want to fall in an 0-2 hole to New Jersey and Brodeur, as the Devils are 10-for-10 in playoff series after winning the first two games in the Brodeur Era.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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2012 NHL Playoffs: Complete Schedule For Sunday's Games

The 2012 NHL Playoffs are now officially in full swing, with Sunday's Devils versus Panthers matchup highlighting the day's action. That contest might be of greatest interest to hometown fans, but Sunday also offers a full slate of other playoff entertainment.

Here is the complete schedule for NHL Playoff games to be played on Sunday:

Predators Vs. Red Wings: 12:00 p.m. EST, NBC

Penguins Vs. Flyers: 3:00 p.m. EST, NBC

Devils Vs. Panthers: 7:30 p.m. EST, NBCSN

Canucks Vs. Kings: 10:30 p.m. EST, NBCSN

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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2012 NHL Playoffs: Complete Schedule For Saturday's Games

The 2012 NHL Playoffs are now in full swing and though the Florida Panthers are down 0-1 to the New Jersey Devils and off on Saturday, there is still plenty of playoff action going on starting with a 3 p.m. matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins.

The Panthers will get back to action on Sunday evening when they host the Devils for Game 2 of the seven-game series.

Here is the complete schedule for NHL Playoff games to be played on Saturday.

Capitals Vs. Bruins: 3 p.m. EST, NBC

Senators Vs. Rangers: 7 p.m. EST, NBCSN

Sharks Vs. Blues: 7:30 p.m. EST, CNBC

Blackhawks Vs. Coyotes: 10 p.m. EST, NBCSN

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Panthers Vs. Devils, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 1: Cats Can't Pull Even, Drop Game 1 To New Jersey

The New Jersey Devils took a 1-0 lead over the Florida Panthers in their first-round series, winning 3-2 in Game 1 on the Cats' home ice. The Devils came in as the favorites, after finishing with eight more points in the standings than Florida. And New Jersey quickly asserted control, reeling off three unanswered goals in the first period. That would prove to be enough as Florida could never quite pull even, despite a two-goal second period. Both teams played relatively conservative in the final period and Martin Brodeur slammed the door when the Panthers increased the pressure in Jersey's zone.

Florida gave up a whopping 26 first-period shots to the Devils, and they could never quite recover from that disastrous first period. Sean Bergenheim and Kris Versteeg notched second-period goals, but Florida managed only six shots over the final 20 minutes. Versteeg was sent to the box early in the third period, which stunted the momentum Florida had built in the second period.

Florida will look to pull even in a crucial Game 2 on Sunday night at BankAtlantic center.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Panthers Vs. Devils, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 1: Cats Clawing Back, Pull Within 1

After falling behind by three goals in a disappointing start to the playoffs, the Florida Panthers stormed back in the second period and cut the New Jersey Devils lead to just one. It was a chippy period and the Cats dramatically stepped up the defensive effort, after allowing a whopping 26 shots in the first 20 minutes. The Devils put only six shots on goal in the second period, allowing Florida to get back in it.

Sean Bergenheim ended the Martin Brodeur shutout 7:44 into the second, taking a feed from Marcel Goc and getting the crowd back in it with a snipe. The Cats then took quick advantage of a power play after Stephen Gionta was sent to the box. Florida won the draw off the stoppage of play and Kris Versteeg went five-hole for the second goal of the game. There was bit of a scrum after the goal, leading to four-on-four play but the Cats would settle for two. They will come out of the second intermission with all the momentum after peppering Brodeur.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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Panthers Vs. Devils, 2012 NHL Playoffs Game 1 Score Update: Devils Lead 3-0 After First Period

The New Jersey Devils have dominated the first period of Game 1 against the Florida Panthers, and hold a 3-0 lead after one period.

The Devils outshot the Panthers by a 26-9 margin in the opening 20 minutes and have taken advantage of their early power play opportunies.

Patrik Elias opened the scoring at the 6:31 mark of the period, coming off an assist from Dainius Zubrus. The Devils got further separation when Zubrus found the net for a power play goal goal at 14:11. Ryan Carter was able to make it 3-0 with a goal at 14:56.

The Panthers will need to play more disciplined on defense and stay out of the box while cutting down on turnovers if they want to get back in the game.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Panthers' playoff push, visit Litter Box Cats. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, head over to In Lou We Trust. For all your hockey news and notes and more on each playoff series, keep up with SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.

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2012 NHL Playoffs, Panthers Vs. Devils Game 1: Game Time, TV Coverage And More

The Florida Panthers finally return to the postseason on Friday night, hosting Game 1 in their first-round series against the New Jersey Devils.

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New Jersey Devils Visit Florida Panthers: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game One Preview

It's finally time. Stephen Weiss first ever playoff game against the old Warhorse Martin Brodeur, looking for his 100th playoff victory.

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Florida Panthers Season Already A Success

By winning the Southeast Division and making the playoffs, the Florida Panthers have already exceeded expectations.

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2012 NHL Playoffs: Complete Schedule For Wednesday's Games

The 2012 NHL Playoffs get underway on Wednesday night with three games; two from the Western Conference and a pretty heated rivalry from the East. We will also see the 4/5 matchup from the West, which also just happens to feature one of the most storied teams in the history of the NHL.

Here is the complete schedule for NHL Playoff games to be played on Wednesday.

Flyers Vs. Penguins: 7:30 pm EST, NBC Sports Network

Red Wings Vs. Predators: 8 pm EST, CNBC

Kings Vs. Canucks: 10:30 pm EST, NBC Sports Network

We'll have plenty more on this series and all of the NHL Playoff matchups in this StoryStream. For all your Panthers needs, check out Litter Box Cats. If you're for the Devils, check out In Lou We Trust. All your NHL scores and news can be found at SB Nation's main hockey hub, and don't forget to check out SB Nation on YouTube:

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NHL Playoffs Schedule And Bracket 2012: Panthers Vs. Devils Starts April 13

The Florida Pantherswon the Southeast Division, earning the Eastern Conference's #3 seed in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They will face the number six seed, the New Jersey Devils. In four regular season games against the Devils the Panthers won two, and had one regulation loss and one shootout loss. Although New Jersey finished with eight more points than Florida in the regular season (102 to the Panthers' 94), Florida gets home-ice advantage because of their division title. It is the Panthers' first postseason appearance since 2000, ending the longest playoffs-less streak in the NHL.

Things get started on Friday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m. The full schedule is:

- Friday, April 13, 7:00 pm: at Florida - NHL Network, TSN
- Sunday, April 15, 7:30 pm: at Florida - NBC Sports Network, TSN
- Tuesday, April 17, 7:00 pm: at New Jersey - NHL Network, TSN
- Thursday, April 19, 7:00 pm: at New Jersey - NHL Network, TSN
- Saturday, April 21, 6:30 pm (if necessary): at Florida - NHL Network, TSN
- Tuesday, April 24, time TBD (if necessary): at New Jersey - Network TBD
- Thursday, April 26, time TBD (if necessary): at Florida - Network TBD

For all your Panthers needs, check out Litter Box Cats. If you're for the Devils, check out In Lou We Trust. All your NHL scores and news can be found at SB Nation's main hockey hub, and don't forget to check out SB Nation on YouTube:

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