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:
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.