Found April 26, 2012 on
Fox Sports Florida:
New Jersey Devils
Tune into FOX Sports Florida at 8:30 p.m. to watch the Florida Panthers take on the New Jersey Devils. NHL Panthers territory.
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- The numbers could not be more even: Three wins apiece, 15 goals per team.
As such, the first six games of the Florida-New Jersey matchup decided nothing.
Welcome to Game 7.
Looking for their first series victory in 16 years, the Panthers will have home ice Thursday night for the ultimate game of their Eastern Conference first-round series with the Devils, who forced the winner-take-all matchup with a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 6. It's only the second Game 7 in franchise history for Florida, which won one of these in Pittsburgh in the 1996 East finals.
"It's do or die," Panthers goalie Jose Theodore said Wednesday. "These are the kind of games you want to be part of. I mean, everybody when you're a kid and you play hockey, you always imagine that it's Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. So obviously it's a game everybody wants to be part of and help the team win."
Theodore did not play in Game 6 because of an unspecified injury. He worked out at the Panthers' practice facility Wednesday, taking shots from a few teammates for about 35 minutes, saying afterward that he felt better than he did the day before. It's common for Florida -- which started Scott Clemmensen in Game 5 -- to not reveal who's starting until game day, but by his standards, Panthers coach Kevin Dineen showed his hand Wednesday.
"Theo has been our go-to guy," Dineen said after watching a few minutes of Theodore's workout. "And if he's available, he'll be the one running with it."
The sense in the Florida dressing room Wednesday was that being at home for Game 7 is a huge boost, given how much energy the team says it gets from its fans.
Perspectives seemed much different 1,250 miles to the north.
Before leaving for their flight to South Florida, the Devils talked about how going on the road for the final game of a series can minimize distractions, though there is one they cannot ignore. A New Jersey loss on Thursday could usher in the end of goaltender Martin Brodeur's career, because he'll be a free agent this summer and will be 40 on May 6.
"I plan on coming back," Brodeur said. "It's a decision that we'll make later on. I know a lot of people have asked me about it being my last game. You never know. I'm just going to enjoy the moment. It's Game 7. It's why we all play hockey."
The Devils outshot Florida 42-16 in Game 6, not getting the winner until Travis Zajac got a shot past Clemmensen 5:39 into overtime. The Panthers had a chance at the other end to send New Jersey into summer seconds earlier, Brodeur going down while the puck was dangerously loose a few feet away, before Zajac and a couple other teammates found a way to clear and start what became the winning rush.
Zajac ran to the corner of the ice, mobbed by teammates. By Wednesday afternoon, he was calm again.
"Winning Game 7 would be nicer," Zajac said. "That's all that's on our minds now. It was definitely rewarding to score the goal, but it means nothing if we don't win Game 7. We've played six games against them now. We know what is going to work and what doesn't."
The Devils finished with 102 points this year, eight more than Florida, which got home-ice by virtue of winning the Southeast Division title on the final day of the regular season. To advance, New Jersey will have to find a way to finish off its first two-game postseason winning streak since 2007.
"When you finish seven or eight points ahead in the standings of the team you have to play in Game 7 and that game is in their building, that's hard to swallow," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "But we understand and we'll be ready."
So it's the first time the Florida sweater has been in one of these games since the first Clinton administration.
That doesn't mean those who'll wear that sweater are lacking for experience in these sort of pressure-cookers.
Theodore had a Game 7 shutout for Montreal over Boston in 2004. Defenseman Ed Jovanovski, whose playoff beard is flecked with gray now, was a rookie in Florida's other one in 1996. Florida center John Madden played in a half-dozen of these for New Jersey, including a 2009 loss that was his last game with the Devils.
And everyone in the room has seen plenty of them, like forward Kris Versteeg, who said his favorite Game 7 memory was watching Colorado's Joe Sakic opt not to raise the Stanley Cup first in 2001 -- a captain's tradition -- and instead hand it off to the legendary Raymond Bourque, who spent 22 years chasing his title.
By the way, who lost that game Versteeg referenced? That would be the Devils.
"Play to win. Don't play to lose," Madden said when asked what advice he'd give to Game 7 first-timers. "Don't go out there clenching your sticks thinking about making a mistake. Just go out there and want to be the guy who makes a difference in every shift."
Florida thought it let a chance slip away in Game 6. Versteeg said frustration won't carry over to Game 7.
"We haven't made it easy on ourselves all season long, so why now?" Versteeg asked. "We're excited about this."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Jose Theodore is expected be the Florida Panthers' starting goalie against New Jersey in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference first-round series on Thursday night.
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen made the announcement after Florida's morning skate, saying Theodore "deserves the start if he can go."
Theodore missed Game 6 on Tuesday with an unspecified...
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) -- Florida goaltender Jose Theodore did an on-ice workout Wednesday and is hoping to play when the Panthers host the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Theodore missed Florida's Game 6 overtime loss in New Jersey on Tuesday night with an unspecified injury.
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen says it's "encouraging...
Tomas Kopecky and John Madden of the Florida Panthers has a nasty head on collision during their 1st round Game 7 NHL playoff game against The New Jersey Devils. John Madden definitely took the brunt of the hit and was forced to leave the game to get a handful of stitches. In true playoff hockey form, Madden returned to the game after being stitched up.
video via Puck Daddy...
In a scene straight out of the “Three Stooges,” Florida Panthers teammates John Madden and Tomas Kopecky collided mid-ice, with Madden getting badly bloodied.
The collision occured in the first two minutes of Game 7 against the Devils, and unsurprisingly, Madden returned later in the period after missing about 13 minutes. You know the only thing worse than getting jacked up...
Stephen Weiss and Marcel Goc scored third-period goals in a frantic Florida rally, and the Panthers and New Jersey Devils were tied at 2-2 after the first 20-minute overtime period Thursday night.
Adam Henrique scored in the first period and Stephen Gionta connected midway through the second for New Jersey, trying to reach the second round of the postseason for the first time since...
It was the wee hours of Friday morning when Kris Versteeg walked a few steps over to Stephen Weiss' locker in the Florida Panthers dressing room and shook his teammate's hand.
''Great season,'' they said to one another.
Even after a Game 7 overtime loss sent them into summer, few would argue.
The Panthers are a playoff team again, and when they reconvene...
Florida Panthers Tomas Kopecky and John Madden collided last night. No truth to he rumor that Michael Yormark has asked the league to review for possible suspensions.
Of course he...
Full story at Bob's Blitz ~ http://www.bobsblitz.com
((HT: NHL/CNBC/NHL Network/Fred Murtz))Tonight was a great night for Game 7's in the FIRST round of the NHL playoffs. New York survived their series with Ottawa with a 2-1 win at MSG while Florida and New Jersey were going at in on the outskirts of Miami.There was one reason that the Panthers picked up John Madden as a free agent- simplay, for nights like this...But early on...
The Florida Panthers’ early exit from Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a surprise to some, and not so much for others.
Let’s face it. The Panthers were not pegged to do too good this year. In fact, lots had them missing the playoffs all together. However, in a weak division, they landed the No. 3 seed to take on an equally talented opponent in the New Jersey...
SUNRISE, Fl. No one figured the New Jersey-Florida series would end like this a double-overtime Game 7 thriller.
But when New Jersey rookie Adam Henrique scored his second goal of the night at 3:47 of the second overtime, he delivered his Devils a 3-2 Game 7 victory over Florida at the BankAtlantic Center, and everything seemed to make sense again.
"Someone had to be a hero...
Ek's note. The following articls appears courtesy of TheRatTrick.com, my favorite place to read the latest on the Florida Panthers and is written by one of the best new writers covering the Panthers today, Paige Lewis, who is @rattrickLewiz on twitter. Hope you enjoy this story as much as I did.
When I woke up this morning to the news about the âMasterton Trophyâ...
The above screenshot (TSN) of Dale Tallon and Bill Torrey tells the story for the Florida Panthers.
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun, As a kid, Adam Henrique always imagined scoring a Game 7 overtime goal.
What good Canadian boy hasn’t?
The New Jersey Devils rookie went one further early Friday morning, scoring at 3:47 of double-overtime in a 3-2 Game 7 win to eliminate...
1) Now that the dust has settled on one of the most bizarre first rounds I've ever seen, I'd like to go over some of the highlights.
Starting with the collision between Tomas Kopecky and John Madden; it being among the worst things I saw in hockey all season.
That Madden came back to the game after that was beyond courageous, it was insane. I highly doubt getting stitched...
The Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils will play to advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs Thursday night when the two teams battle in a must-watch game 7.
Game 7 coverage begins Thursday night on FOX Sports Florida (Panthers Territory) at 8 pm with the Panthers LIVE pre-game show from the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The puck drops at 8:30 p.m.
Florida Panthers goaltender Jose Theodore did not take part in the morning skate for Game 6 against the New Jersey Devils and his status for the contest is uncertain.
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said Theodore was not 100 percent and would be a game-time decision.
Theodore shut out the Devils 3-0 in Game 5 Saturday to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. It was...