Florida started out strong with a few good chances from the first line before matching 5-minute minors were incurred when Shawn Matthias and Rod Pelley dropped the gloves. The Panthers killed off a penalty after Stephen Weiss was called for hooking in the offensive zone. Soon after, the Panthers got on the board when Kulikov pitched it to Weiss off a Devils skate and Kris Versteeg stuffed the rebound home to bring the deficit to 3-1. Five minutes later, Versteeg scored his second of the night with an assist from Jason Garrison. The Panthers finished the period by outshooting the Devils 15 to nine. A few players are starting to wake up a little, as Jack Skille is starting to skate like he did earlier in the season and Tomas Kopecky at times looks like a power fullback bulldozing through the offensive zone strong on the puck. Tune in for what is sure to be an exciting third period in Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise.
Florida started out skating hard, and put a few quality shots on net in the first minute. Martin Brodeur was up to the task, however, and turned away every shot. The Cats strung together overlapping power plays, including a 5-on-3 for a full minute, but could not muster any goals during the effort.
Soon after the power play expired, the Devils scored three goals in 3:32, putting the Panthers in an unfamiliar early hole. Ilya Kovalchuk, Petr Sykora and Dainius Zubrus each scored for New Jersey, with one assist each for Henrik Tallinder, Adam Larsson and Patrik Elias and two assists for Andy Greene.
With the Cats on their heels, Brodeur was able to hold the stunned Panthers scoreless in ten shots on goal.