NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Florida
(Wednesday, November 26th)
Final Score: New Jersey 3, Florida 2 (OT)
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Johnny Oduya scored his first goal of the season with 56 seconds to play in overtime, lifting the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center.
Oduya also picked up an assist for the Devils, who blew a 2-0 lead in the final 2:19 of regulation but still earned their season-high fifth straight win. Brian Gionta and Travis Zajac also scored for New Jersey, while Scott Clemmensen made 36 saves.
"We found a way to win, which is good," said Gionta. "But we can't let a two- goal lead slip away like we did."
Jay Bouwmeester and David Booth each notched a goal and an assist for Florida, which has lost three of its last four games. Stephen Weiss assisted on both Panther goals.
After the Panthers tied it in the closing seconds of regulation, they were awarded a power play when Bryce Salvador was called for delay of game just 38 seconds into the extra period. Clemmensen stopped three shots on the power play and made another save moments before the Devils went the other way for the winning goal.
Oduya and Dainius Zubrus raced out of the New Jersey end on an odd-man break. Oduya carried the puck into the Florida zone on the left wing and nearly lost control of the puck as he looked for a passing lane. Instead, he snapped a shot from the left circle past the glove of Craig Anderson for the winner.
"I wanted to shoot maybe a little bit earlier, but I lost it [the puck] there for a second," said Oduya. "I found the back of the net so that's always nice. I haven't scored that many goals -- first of the year!"
Anderson had turned aside the first 24 shots he faced after replacing Tomas Vokoun to start the second period. Vokoun was beaten twice on 12 shots in the first.
"Great effort by everybody," said Anderson. "We didn't give up. We didn't get discouraged. We stuck with the program and kept getting pucks to the net and got rewarded with only one point tonight, but it's still a reward."
Florida appeared beaten, but Bouwmeester netted his first of the season with 2:19 to play in the third. He took a drop pass from Weiss in the slot and snapped a shot through Clemmensen.
The Panthers then pulled Anderson and scored with just 7.2 seconds to play. Clemmensen stopped Weiss' shot from the right circle with his left pad, but Booth was there to sweep the rebound through the netminder's legs for his 11th goal.
"You never want to allow those things to happen," Clemmensen said about giving up a two-goal lead. "But it's tough to win in this league and teams are not going to die. They're not going to go away easily."
The Devils struck first at the 5:33 mark of the first period on a power-play goal from Gionta. Oduya carried the puck into the Florida zone and drove into the left circle before feeding a pass toward the slot for Gionta, who made a nice deflection that snuck through Vokoun for his seventh goal.
Zajac scored his fourth goal of the season to make it 2-0 with 1:36 left in the first. Zach Parise sent a pass from the left boards to the top of the slot for Jamie Langenbrunner, who made a neat drop pass and an oncoming Zajac skated into the right circle before snapping a shot off the right post and into the net.
Clemmensen needed to stop just four shots in the first period and had a relatively quiet second until the last few minutes when the Panthers were awarded a power play. Florida had five shots with the extra skater, but could not find the back of the net, and Clemmensen also stopped a shot by Anthony Stewart with nine seconds left to keep the Panthers off the board.
Gionta has a six-game point streak and matched a career best with a five-game goal streak. He is one shy of the New Jersey record of goals in six straight games, set five times -- most recently by Parise earlier this season...Booth has a three-game goal streak...The Devils last won five straight games from February 16-24, 2008...The Devils beat the Panthers just six days ago in Newark, posting a 3-1 win. The teams won't meet again until February 17...New Jersey defenseman Mike Mottau served the second of his two-game suspension for an elbowing incident...Devils center John Madden missed his third straight game with a sore foot.
11/26 23:41:34 ET