The Florida Panthers lost their second game in as many nights in the New York area on Friday night, falling 5-2 to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in downtown Newark. The Devils clinched the game with a clutch third period from their most prominent stars. With the game tied 2-2, Ilya Kovalchuk scored the game-winning mid way through the final period. He would score his second of the night to make it a two goal lead with one minute remaining, while Zach Parise would add the third unanswered goal just twenty seconds later.
The Panthers had plenty of quality chances but were unable to convert against Johan Hedberg as the game wore on into the third. Kris Versteeg hit two posts but was unable to push one across the goal line. Mikael Samuelsson and Krys Bach evened it up for the Panthers after the Devils took their first two leads, but the missed opportunities opened the door for Kovalchuk to win it.
Florida will now look to rebound at home against the Western Conference defending champion Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.
For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Cats, visit SB Nation's Panthers blog, Litter Box Cats. For the perspective from the other side, visit SB Nation's Devils blog, In Lou We Trust. For all your NHL news and analysis, be sure to follow along with SB Nation's NHL hub.