NJD 15-13-1, 31 points @ FLA 16-9-5, 37 points
Bank Atlantic Center 7:30pm EST MSG+, FSFL (HD)
Martin Brodeur NJD vs Jose Theodore FLA
Acquired yesterday in a trade, D Kurtis Foster will indeed play tonight, grouped with Salvador. Urbom and Palmieri will both sit, and Janssen will play tonight.
I'm very curious how this team will come off putting up 5 goals, as well as nearly blowing a 3-0 lead in Tampa last night against a very good Florida team that has lost 2 straight though. Secondly, I am very curious to how Marty will play as well. Should be a great game in many aspects, hopefully the Devils keep this goal scoring effort going and jump to a possible 6th-place slot in the East, depending on other outcomes tonight.
And here we go the puck has dropped in Sunrise!
Teams trade icings to begin here, until Barch and Janssen scrap together to get their clubs fired up as there still are no shots recorded, they will both serve 5 minute majors and what an excellent fight this was! The Devils go on the powerplay as well, Santorelli goes off for Holding at 3:13, still no shots recorded by either side.
The Panthers kill the penalty without allowing a shot, a very lackluster showing there by the Devils PP units. Finally a shot on goal by Kovalchuk on a good save by Theodore, thats right folks our first shot after 6 minutes! That chance followed up by a great chance by Tallinder to no avail, another icing charged to FLA. Panthers get 2 shots of their own, both saved easily by Marty and we take a break nearing the halfway point of the 1st.
Not much to report the past couple minutes of play, I do have to say of all the Devils so far who I've noticed most is Tedenby, he is all over the ice right now.
Kovy and Parise looking very good together, as well as Henrique who seems to want to set these two up tonight rather than go in deep himself. He is surely impressive, going to be quite the superstar I believe. Brodeur is looking great as well here so far, solid opportunities by the Panthers and he looks very sharp stopping them all. Shots are 6 a piece with 7:35 to play.
The Parise-Henrique-Kovalchuk line is working very hard and clicking on all cylinders right now, such chemistry between those three. Panthers with an excellent chance by Samuelsson causing a Devils defensive zone turnover, Bergenheim's shot swallowed up by Brodeur! A beautiful series of saves a minute later in the crease by Brodeur only to be ruined by sloppy, really sloppy defense by Larsson and Weise takes it and gives it to Versteeg on a very easy goal. 1-0 FLA at 15:08 of the 1st.
Let's see if the Devils can respond from this goal and come back with one of their own. The defense needs to clean its game up in a hurry, very sloppy right now.
At 16:53, Barch tosses the puck over the glass and the Devils will have their second powerplay of the evening. A couple shots from the PP unit but nothing to show, a very good kill by the Panthers PK.
The 1st period comes to an end, finally, the Panthers lead the Devils 1-0 on Versteegs easy goal off Larsson turnover. Those final 10 minutes were all Florida. Shots were 15-13 FLA, that says enough after the Panthers went over 7:30 without a shot to open the game. Marty is playing a fantastic game so far, as well as Theodore.
The 2nd period is now under way..
A beautiful chance for Elias a minute in goes wide from a Kovalchuk feed, Clarkson once again doing wonderful work on the boards. Bergenheim with a wrap around chance and barely misses his chance followed by a flurry by the Panthers that Brodeur cleared off in brilliant and classic fashion.
4 minutes into the 2nd, great work by both offenses, Henrique just missing a goal!
Versteeg delivers a big hit on Taormina against the glass, and these teams are getting much faster and far more intense here! Resulting from it Jovanovski will go off for High-Sticking, drawn by Clarkson at 5:40 of the 2nd, the Devils 3rd chance of the game so far.
Fantastic work by the PP unit for the 1st minute, umbrella set-up and a few good looks but nothing to show. Just as I finish typing that, Versteeg steals the puck and scores on a breakaway short-handed, yes another short-handed goal against the Devils. 2-0 Florida and the penalty killed as well. 7:29 of the 2nd, 2-0. FLA.
The Devils answer back instantaneously! At 8:25 of the 2nd, Elias buries it and puts the Devils on the board set-up beautifully by Kovalchuk and Parise! That is the way to answer back after another gift -wrapped Panther goal by Versteeg.
We are now past the halfway point of the game with the Panthers on top 2-1, but the Devils seem to have a little fire under their bottoms now, hopefully it keeps up!
Fleischmann crushes Kovalchuk at 11:03 and leads to a good chance to Florida only to be stuffed by Martin Brodeur, this game is getting more and more intense by the minute! Parise a minute later steals in the neutral zone, spin pass to Kovalchuk and a brilliant stop by Theodore! 5:44 remaining in the 2nd after a Larsson blast from the top of the right circle is stopped by Theodore. The shear animosity between these 2 clubs is brewing hotter with each minute.
Just after the face-off Samuelsson with a blast from the blue line but Brodeur with a clear line of sight stops it with ease, the Devils return that with a shot of their own stopped easily as well by Theodore.
Excellent chances by Weise and Versteeg at the 15:45 mark and neither go in for the Panthers. With under 3 minutes to play in the 2nd the Devils with a onslaught of chances all stopped by Florida, truely great forechecking work by Zubrus there.
In the final minute we have the top lines for each time all showing frustration with one another, mainly Henrique and Kovalchuk showing some aggression here. 2 roughing penalties per team here, Kulikov and Weaver for Florida, Parise and Kovalchuk for New Jersey. Clarkson draws yet another penalty on Weise for Hooking, at 19:16.
With 44 seconds of powerplay time to work before the period ends, Clarkson blasts one wide of Theodore, and that will do it for the 2nd period. The Devils will have 1:16 of PP time to start the 3rd. Theodore with 28 saves so far, and the Panthers carry a 2-1 lead after 40.
Sorry everyone my link went down for the first 6:30 of the 3rd period. Nothing has happened though of any significant nature.
Parise scores off the missed blast from the point by Tallinder fed by Kovalchuk at 12:18 and this game is tied at 2!
Zubrus trips Weise and the Panthers will go on their first powerplay of the evening with 10:55 remaining. The Devils easily kill this penalty as they have many this season and extend their top-ranked PK percentage. There are less than 8 minutes left in this contest and New Jersey leads the shots at 32-22.
Florida with an offsides with 6:59 to play here in the 3rd. A few offensive rushes all to no avail by the Devils, just over 5 minutes remaining but it seems as though the Devils know they will win this game, they cannot afford to leave Versteeg loose.
Panthers are looking very tired right now, the Devils are ultimately commanding this game in every aspect, Versteeg and Weise are still being a nuisance as usual, under 4 minutes left here in Sunrise.
Kovalchuk has been the Devils best player all game and he nearly ended this one here! Very close to a goal for the Devils as well as Sykora's try at the end of the period, and after being down 2-0 the Devils have forced overtime!
This season thus far New Jersey is 2-0 in overtime, the Panthers, 0-2. Here we go!
Brodeur with a sensational save in the crease with 2:13 remaining in overtime! Both sides showing poise here. Another brilliant save with 1:02 left in OT by Brodeur!
After Overtime, the Devils own the shot total 34-26.
Ladies and Gents, its time for a shootout! Devils are 6-1 in shootouts this season, Florida is 1-3.
Kovalchuk goes first and scores!
Fleischmann goes first for Florida and its saved!
Parise with a straight up shot that is saved!
Versteeg shoots straight into Marty's glove!
Elias can win it here....and he scores!
The Devils take 2 points and defeat Florida 3-2 S/O!
This win brings the Devils to 16-13-1 on the season, with 33 points.
The Panthers loss drops them to 16-10-5 still at 37 points.
Three Stars of the Game are:
1. Kris Versteeg 2G, 0A
2. Ilya Kovalchuk 0G, 2A
3. Martin Brodeur 24 Saves, .923 Save %
Another great win for the Devils, I will be capping Friday nights bout at The Rock vs Dallas at 8pm EST!
Thanks for reading guys! And Go Devils!