NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Florida
(Saturday, March 24th)
Final Score: New Jersey 4, Florida 3 (SO)
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Jim Dowd tallied twice, as the New Jersey Devils halted a devastating three-game losing streak with a 4-3 shootout victory over Florida at the BankAtlantic Center.
Zach Parise and Travis Zajac scored in the shootout for New Jersey, which lost its season-high third straight on Thursday with a 3-1 setback to Tampa Bay. Consequently, the Devils watched their lead over Pittsburgh for the top spot in the Atlantic Division dwindle to two points, where it now remains.
Martin Brodeur blocked 26 shots in the win, with which he tied his career high at 43, for New Jersey, which played the third game of a five-game road swing that still includes tough visits to the New York Islanders and Buffalo.
The Devils, who have lost seven of their last 11, are battling through several injuries, as centers Erik Rasmussen (upper body), John Madden (groin) and forward Patrik Elias (groin) all sat out. Forward Brian Gionta is already out indefinitely due to a groin injury.
Olli Jokinen, Stephen Weiss and Ville Peltonen each scored for Florida, which has split its last four games. Mike Van Ryn notched a pair of assists, and Ed Belfour stopped 27 shots.
"I don't think anyone will say different, we had two leads and one two-goal lead so at this level (in the NHL) those should be pretty much automatic (wins)," Weiss said. "Especially with the position we're in it's a tough way to lose."
Peltonen and Parise both scored in the first round of the shootout, but Nathan Horton missed in the second round and Zajac found the back of the net to put New Jersey in front. It then came down to Jokinen, whose shot went wide to seal the important win for Jersey.
Jokinen got Florida on the board 12:18 into the game on a 40-foot wrist shot, which accounted for the only first-period scoring by either team, and Weiss scored unassisted on a wrister 9:25 into the second for a 2-0 Panthers lead.
New Jersey then got going courtesy of the power play. David Clarkson tipped in the puck 13:06 into the second, and Dowd followed that with a wrister just less than four minutes later.
Florida edged a one-goal lead when Peltonen scored on a slap shot 2:31 into the third, but the Devils tied it halfway through the period on another Dowd wrister, with Belfour at the top of the crease.
"It's great," Dowd said of his performance. "It felt real good, obviously. It's been awhile and it felt great."
New Jersey won its first two meetings with Florida this season before the Panthers posted a 4-2 home win over the Devils in January. New Jersey, though, has won nine of the last 11 in the series overall and 10 of the last 12 in Florida.
03/25 02:58:48 ET