Kris Versteeg scored his team best 14th goal of the season with five minutes left in the period and Jose Theodore made 15 saves to keep the Devils without a goal.
Krys Barch started out early, getting into a prolonged scrap with New Jersey’s Cam Janssen on a delayed penalty by Mike Santorelli. The fight went on for about 90 seconds before the two were broken up and sent to the penalty box with five minute minors.
The Panthers put six shots on goal in a 1:30 span with about six minutes left in the period when Stephen Weiss dropped a pass for Kris Versteeg to swat into the wide open net for a 1-0 Panthers lead.
The Panthers did not see a power play in the period, and successfully killed off two by the Devils, even getting a shorthanded shot on each.
Kris Versteeg scored a shorthanded goal and Patrik Elias answered for New Jersey as the Panthers lead, 2-1 after two periods.
Florida was called for two more penalties in the period, while New Jersey again skated away without being called for any. Meanwhile, Florida has outscored the Devils while a man short.
While killing the first penalty at the 7:29 mark, Kris Versteeg stole the puck and skated into the Devils zone unchallenged, beating Martin Brodeur top shelf for his 15th goal of the season and second of the night. New Jersey has allowed a league worst nine shorthanded goals on the season.
New Jersey cut the lead in half less than a minute later when Patrik Elias coralled a perfect cross-ice pass from Zach Parise for his 10th goal of the season, with assists from Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Panthers only managed one shot on goal in the third period while Zach Parise scored his 10th of the season to tie the game up with 12 minutes to go in regulation.
Florida went on the nights first and only power play in the 49th minutes when Dainus Zubrus tripped Stephen Weiss, but never got set up, instead chasing the puck from one end of the rink to the other.
Florida controlled play in the extra frame, making five shots on goal to zero for New Jersey, but did not score, forcing a shootout.
Ilya Kovalchuk went five hole on Theodore, bringing his career shootout percentage to 33 percent and putting the Panthers in a hole.
Tomas Fleischmann was one for 10 in the shootout prior to tonight’s matchup, and didn’t improve his percentage as Martin Brodeur easily kicksaved his attempt.
Zach Parise was stuffed by Theodore, dropping his career percentage to just under 50.
Kris Versteeg nearly tucked the puck in the five hole, but the door shut as Brodeur was strong in goal for the Devils.
Patrik Elias sealed the deal, beating Theodore and sending the Cats to their third straight loss.
Florida starts out their homestand with an overtime loss, but have two nights off before facing the underachieving Calgary Flames on Friday night.
Although technically on a three game losing streak, Florida has points in five of their last six games.
Kris Versteeg extended his goal scoring lead with two goals tonight, bringing his season total to 15.
Stephen Weiss’ assist was his 229th, which ties him for second all-time on the Panthers with defenseman Robert Svehla.