Devils 3, Panthers 2, OT

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 24, 2012
Travis Zajac scored at 5:39 of overtime and the New Jersey Devils avoided elimination and sent yet another Eastern Conference first-round series to a seventh game with a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. Steve Bernier and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored and Martin Brodeur made 14 saves for New Jersey, which squandered a two-goal lead and had fans dreading another first-round playoff exit until Zajac scored from the right hand circle. The shot beat Scott Clemmensen to the lower corner and set off a mob scene on the ice. Clemmensen was outstanding, stopping 39 shots in an emergency start for the injured Jose Theodore. Kris Versteeg and Sean Bergenheim tallied for Florida, which was looking for its first series win since 1996. Game 7 will be played in Sunrise, Fla., on Thursday. Two other series in the conference are also headed to Game 7s. Washington will be at second-seeded Boston on Wednesday and Ottawa will be at the top-seeded Rangers on Thursday. The Panthers had a chance in a scramble in front of Brodeur just before Zajac's goal. However, Zajac pulled the puck away from the crease and led a rush up ice. Zach Parise took his cross-ice pass and gave the puck to Kovalchuk, who found Zajac skating down the right wing for a shot along the ice into the net. The Devils outshot Florida 42-16 in a game played before a sellout crowd. Despite being outshot 29-10 in the opening 40 minutes, the Panthers rallied from a 2-0 deficit and entered the third period tied at 2-all. The remarkable aspect was that the Panthers took only four shots in the second period and tallied on the two of the first three. Versteeg cut the deficit to 2-1 at 7:05 of the period. Stephen Weiss centered the puck from along the left sideboards and Versteeg's shot hit off the skate of Devils forward Alexei Ponikarovsky and into the open side of the net. Brodeur never had a chance. The tying goal came at 12:49 after the referees ignored a slash by Bergenheim that knocked Kovalchuk to the ice. It led to a 4-on-2 rush. Brodeur made the initial stop on a shot from the between the circles by Tyson Strachan, but Bergenheim came late and tucked the rebound into an open net with teammate Marcel Goc hanging on the crossbar. Kovalchuk gave the Devils a 2-0 lead earlier in the period, slam-dunking a pass from Zajac into the net with four seconds left on a power play. It was his third goal of the series. The Devils had a big territorial advantage in the final 10 minutes of the first period and it finally paid off when Bernier beat Clemmensen with a bad-angle shot at 16:37 of the period. NOTES: The NBA's Nets played their final home game in New Jersey on Monday night and all the team banners and retired jersey numbers that hung from the rafters of the Prudential Center were gone on Tuesday. ... Panthers D Jason Garrison, their leading goal scorer on the back line, missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL Legends (and Jose Canseco!) Have No Love For Captain America
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

U.S. Soccer hands Solo six month suspension for Olympic comments

Report: Josh Gordon will be restricted free agent after 2016

Chargers release statement on Joey Bosa situation

Yoenis Cespedes says he will not opt out of Mets contract

Zach Johnson unloads on Olympic golf

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Drew Brees says players do not trust league office, Goodell

Lawsuit over Hall of Fame Game refiled after McAfee comments

Report: Griffin plans to re-sign with Clippers, won't be traded

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

Revisiting the 10 biggest mistakes of the NFL offseason

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker