Big Story: In one of the most bizarre finishes in a playoff game this season, the Devils opened a 3-0 lead only to suffer a 4-3 setback as the Panthers scored four unanswered goals in Game 3 on Tuesday at Prudential Center. Both starting goalies were yanked from the game. Florida's Jose Theodore was pulled 6:16 into the first after allowing three goals on six shots. New Jersey's Martin Brodeur got the hook 2:18 into the second when he allowed his third goal on 12 shots. Brian Campbell's first goal this postseason snapped a 3-3 tie 6:34 into the second for the Panthers, who finished 3-for-3 on the power play.
Panthers: It remains to be seen whether or not Theodore or Scott Clemmensen will start Game 4 for the Panthers on Thursday. Theodore was pulled after allowing three quick goals on Tuesday, opening the door for Clemmensen, who earned the second star of the game after stopping all 19 shots he faced. Clemmensen, who spent a good part of his career backing up Brodeur in New Jersey, is now 5-0 career against the Devils.
Does Clemmensen feel he will get the nod for Game 4?
"I don't know, I'm not expecting to start," he said. "I think that both of us have the qualifications to start the next game. I'm not going to anticipate anything. I'm just going to be ready if it is me."
Devils: It's back to the drawing board for coach Pete DeBoer, whose team cannot seem to stay out of the penalty box and, as a result, is losing this series. The Devils had all the momentum in the opening six minutes of the game, getting goals from Zach Parise, Stephen Gionta and Patrik Elias. At that point, New Jersey was outshooting Florida, 6-1. That's when the visitors began clawing their way back, scoring twice while outshooting the Devils, 9-1, over the final 13:44 to ultimately pull within 3-2 and trigger the comeback. DeBoer did say after the game that Brodeur would start Game 4 despite being pulled in the second.
Stat Pack: Not only did Florida establish a franchise record for the largest comeback in playoff history, but the three power-play goals in Game 3 also set a franchise record. The Panthers have scored six power-play goals in 10 chances in three games against the Devils, who possessed the League's top penalty-killing unit during the regular season.
Puck Drop: All three games in the series have started with one team taking a 3-0 lead. Florida, however, was the first to go down by three and rally for a victory on Tuesday in Game 3. In Game 1, New Jersey opened a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 3-2 win. In Game 2, the Panthers surged to a 3-0 advantage before earning a 4-2 triumph.
“Of course, it’s disappointing and a little disheartening, but we still feel good enough about our game that we are by no means out of this series,” Devils captain Zach Parise said. “Of course it’s hard. You can’t do that. You can’t allow that to happen. But, at the same time, it’s easy to identify why it happened. So, we can’t allow it to happen again. We can’t allow us to make those same mistakes again. We let them right back in the game.”
“We’re a good team and we have to find a way how to bounce back,” Kovalchuk said. “One game is not going to kill our confidence. It’s a good job by them. They didn’t do anything crazy or surprising. They were good on the power play and why were they good? Because they were simple. They were shooting the puck from (the point) and a couple good bounces went their way and it went in. So, that’s what it’s all about. You have to shoot the puck to score goals.”
Still, DeBoer said the team can’t be too careful, “so that we’re walking round playing with pillows on our pads,” There is a line they have to be careful about crossing – and it would help if their PK could kill off a power play, too.
“It’s hockey,” DeBoer said. “You have to compete. That edge has to be there. Our penalty killing all year has allowed us to play with that edge and it hasn’t come back to bite us. It has in two of these games. So, I think the easier answer to that is get our penalty killing back on track not lay off playing with any edge.”
Well, two options tonight: roll over and give up or come out to make a statement that this series is far from over by taking it to them, burying, swarming in all 3 zones & not letting up. I have no expectations, so what's it gonna be devils?
I didn't check out the last postgame thread out of sheer terror of what it probably possessed, so I don't know if this was brought up to the point where this is beating a dead horse, but I would almost take Larsson over Volch at this point.
Volch HAS to have an injury that is slowing him down and weakening his legs in general. He's a step or two too slow on most plays, can't make up for getting caught flatfooted, and usually loses his feet when he makes a hit along the boards right now. In short, he's just not Volch at this point.
At least we're still dominating 5 on 5 for the most part. LGD.