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.