New York, NY- Before the start of the Devils (18-30-4) and Panthers (23-23-6) game in New Jersey tonight the guys in red wanted to make a point. That point was that watch out NHL here come the Devils, on this Friday night though that point could not be made as they fell to the Florida Panthers by the score of 4-3 in overtime in hockey action.

New Jersey had a good opportunity to score in the first period of play as at the 6:21 mark Nick Palmieri had a nice 13 foot backhanded shot that would be denied by Tomas Vokoun. The Panthers would eventually cash in for their first goal on some sweet moves by Steve Bernier.

Bernier who would have a stutter step move and shot on Devils keeper Johan Hedberg, the puck would bounce of ‘Moose’ finding its way to Chris Higgins (9) who finished off the shot on a nine foot backhanded opportunity at the 6:52 mark for the 1-0 Panthers lead.

The Devils though would find an answer off a crazy carom in the Panthers zone at the 8:52 mark, somehow the puck would find its way to Travis Zajac (eight) who would bang home a 10 foot wrister to make the game 1-1. The Devils would then find the lead at the 11:01 mark on a Jason Arnott (13) 10 foot snap shot, which was assisted by Henrik Tallinder (eight) and Mattias Tedenby (7) for the 2-1 Devils lead.

Florida would strike back at the 12:35 mark as Dennis Wideman (7) was able to tip in a 13 foot power play shot, which was assisted by David Booth (13) and Michael Frolik (20) which tied the two teams up at 2-2. New Jersey would have a golden opportunity at the 16:04 mark as Tallinder tried for a wicked 55 foot snap shot, but sadly that would be denied by Tomas Vokoun. Eventually the horn would sound to end the frame with these two teams tied at 2-2.

The Devils would be able to break that tie at the 6:20 mark of the second period when Mark Fayne (3) ripped a 55 foot slap shot, which was assisted by Travis Zajac (20) and Ilya Kovalchuk (17) for the 3-2 lead. It had seemed as if the Devils were going to put the clamp down on the Panthers as they held on this edge in the scoreboard for quite some time.

But then the Devils fans saw something from this scorching-hot second half squad that they have not in quite some time. It was at the 12:47 mark ‘The Sniper’ Ilya Kovalchuk who is celebrating his one-year anniversary with the squad, turned over the puck on the Devils power play opportunity which led to the game-tying goal. For Devils fans this must have been a bad-dream type sensation, as they haven’t seen the winger commit an act like that since the first half of play.

Eventually Mike Santorelli (14) would be the one who would cash in on the short handed goal on a 12 foot wrister at the 12:52 mark of that frame to tie the game up for Florida. New Jersey would have two really good opportunities at the 14:26 mark as David Clarkson had a nine foot wrister, which was denied by Vokoun. Then at the 15:11 mark the Devils would have a two-on-one opportunity with Travis Zajac attempting a 20 foot wrister that would clang off the goal post. The two squads would eventually need the overtime frame to decide who gets these very crucial two points.

New Jersey looked like they would get to make their point though as at the start of the overtime frame Brian Rolston had a 14 foot wrister at the 0:18 mark. Just as quickly as Vokoun would stop that a speedy Patrik Elias would try for a 15 foot shot which would be turned away by the Florida keeper.

The Panthers would eventually net the game-winner on some nice passing by the squad. The puck would find Rostislav Olesz (5) who would tally a 21 foot wrister, which was assisted by Radek Dvorak (13) for the 4-3 Florida victory.

Vokoun was stellar in the cage for the Panthers finishing the night with 28 saves, while Johan Hedberg had 25 saves in the net for the Devils.

A huge factor in this game for the Devils was their special teams play as the team went 0-for-3 on their power play opportunities. The Devils who are 8-1-2 in their last 11 games and have earned 18 out of a possible 22 points in this stretch of play. But in the National Hockey League if you want to get into the playoffs every point is precious and this victory would have helped the Devils make their point.

New Jersey looks to show their bounce-back ability in what should be a very interesting test on Sunday as they head to Montreal for a 3:00 p.m. face-off with the Canadiens.

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