Zidlicky's OT goal gives Devils win over Panthers

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 11, 2014
Marek Zidlicky scored with 2.1 seconds showing on the overtime clock to lift the New Jersey Devils to a stirring 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Saturday night. With just over 3 seconds to go, the Devils called a timeout before the final faceoff. Travis Zajac beat Marcel Goc on the draw, and Jaromir Jagr nudged the puck back to the top of the right circle to Zidlicky, who ripped a shot that beat screened goalie Tim Thomas. Michael Ryder extended his goal streak to four games, and Cory Schneider made 29 saves in giving New Jersey its second straight win. Nick Bjugstad had the lone goal for the Panthers. The frustrated Thomas stormed off the ice at the end of his 34-save performance. With both teams in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference and needing points, the third period was wide open despite the 1-1 tie. Both teams had great chances, but Thomas and Schneider stopped them on the doorstep. Thomas' best saves in the period came on a deflection by Reid Boucher and a stuff attempt by Ryane Clowe in the final two minutes. Schneider denied a power-play chance early in the period by Tomas Kopecky, and a shot by Sean Bergenheim with 9.2 seconds left in regulation. Ryder gave the Devils a 1-0 lead with his team-high 16th goal late in the first period. Thomas made a couple of good stops but the Panthers had trouble clearing their zone. Defenseman Erik Gudbranson tried to carry the puck around the net, but Clowe stripped him of the puck and found Ryder alone in front. Florida tied it about a minute after Thomas robbed Adam Henrique on a rebound attempt that prevented New Jersey from taking a two-goal lead. Henrique controlled the rebound, skated across the crease, and sent a backhander toward an open net. Thomas, however, dove and made a glove save. A Panthers' counterattack produced the tying goal. Scottie Upshall carried the puck up the right boards and gave it to Bjugstad. He found Tomas Fleischmannn, who sent a pass in front that Bjugstad redirected into the upper corner of the net past Schneider. Schneider was trying for his second straight shutout after blanking Dallas on Thursday. Schneider stopped breakaways by Upshall and Kopecky in the first two periods. Thomas had at least a half dozen good saves, including stopping a short-handed breakaway by Ryan Carter early in the third. Schneider also got a break when a shot by Brian Campbell hit of the post during a power play. NOTES: Former NBA great Shaquille O'Neal dropped the puck during a ceremonial opening faceoff. ... The Panthers' three lineup scratches, C Scott Gomez, D Mike Mottau and F Krys Barch, are all former Devils. ... Clowe has assists in three straight games. ... New Jersey went 2-0-1 on its three game homestand.
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