It took the Florida Panthers 16 years, but they finally have a playoff win.
The Panthers defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2 in the second game of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Sunday night at the Bank Atlantic Center. The win tied the seven-game series at 1-1.
Stephen Weiss led the Panthers, netting two power-play goals. Marcel Goc also scored for the Panthers, who won for the first time in the postseason since 1996.
The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Devils.
Weiss opened the scoring in the first period, scoring his first power-play goal just 23 seconds after the game started. Devils defenseman Andy Greene was sent to the penalty box for tripping Goc 11 seconds into regulation, giving Florida the power play opportunity. Mikael Samuelsson's point shot deflected off a mass of players in front and bounced right to the stick of Weiss. Weiss fired it into the open net for his first goal of the postseason.
Weiss' next powerplay goal came at the 1:12 mark into the second period, and extended the Panthers' lead to 2-0. With New Jersey facing a 5-on-3 power play, Goc was hit with a shot in front of Martin Brodeur. The puck deflected right to the stick of Weiss, who beat the Devils' goalie over the glove for his second goal of the night.
Weiss became the first player in the series to record a multi-goal game. The Panthers have converted on three of their six power play attempts against a Devils team that set the NHL record for penalty kill efficiency.
Goc gave Florida a 3-0 lead at the 14:39 mark. Skateing the puck into the right circle, Goc sent a shot that deflected off the shoulder of Brodeur and into the back of the net for his first goal of the postseason.
New Jersey closed the gap in the third period, scoring twice in a span of 2:02 to cut the deficit to one.
Travis Zajac put New Jersey on the board, netting his first goal of the postseason 48 seconds into the final frame. Zajac took a pass from Andy Greene and skated in on Jose Theodore, putting a shot off the pads and into the net for his first goal of the postseason.
Ilya Kovalchuk shrunk the deficit to 3-2 at the 2:02 mark of the third period. Adam Henrique held the puck along the side boards and sent a pass to the front of the net. Kovalchuk, with one hand on his stick, deflected the pass past Theodore for his first goal of the postseason.
New Jersey couldn't get that final goal, and Tomas Fleischmann scored an empty-netter with one-tenth of a second remaining to ice the victory.
Theodore finished with 23 saves for his first win of the postseason. Martin Brodeur stopped 20 shots in the loss.
Game Three will be Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.