Sunrise, Florida - The New Jersey Devils faced off against the Florida Panthers in their second meeting of the year. The Devils won the first meeting a week ago 2-1 at the Prudential Center. This game was a hard fought battle just like their previous game, and the playoff series last April.
The Devils have struggled to close out games, let alone periods without giving up a goal in the final minute, then end up losing the game. Many valuable points have been lost in this “light” part of their schedule. The Devils are now on a three game losing skid, but at least have points in all of them. The Devils need to stay positive throughout all of this and just need to put this behind them.
The Devils were beating the Panthers for the majority of the game, but just are searching for ways to finish games. Steve Bernier played an excellent game scoring both of the Devils goals. The two goals were Bernier’s seventh and eigth of the year.
Despite a strong showing by Bernier, the Panthers took advantage of the lacksidaisical game played by the defense. The Devils have a tendency to sit back once they get the lead in the third period, and it showed again today.
This game was the fourth straight game letting up a goal in the final minute of a period, but goals were allowed in the critical final minute of the game. The Devils got the second point stolen from them when Scottie Upshall batted the puck down, which looked to be a high stick, and centered it for Shawn Matthias for his second goal of the night. Martin Brodeur laid into the referee after the game, he clearly thought it was a high stick.
Then only 1:46 into overtime, Dmitry Kulikov scored to end the game.
The nightmare of a road-trip is finally over. On the bright side, the Devils did get points in all three games, but should have gotten three more.
The Devils get a day off before returning home against the New York Islanders in their last matchup of the season. The Devils are 2-1-1 this season against the Islanders. The game is crucial for the Devils, they need to get back to their winning ways.
Attendance - 18,138
1st Star - Dmitri Kulikov (GWG, 4 shots)
2nd Star - Shawn Matthias (2 goals, 4 shots)
3rd Star - Steve Bernier (2 goals, 3 shots)