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Devils 3, Panthers 2: Zajac OT Hero As Devils Force Game 7

The New Jersey Devils will live to see a Game 7.

Travis Zajac scored in overtime to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 overtime win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals tonight at the Prudential Center.

Game 7 will be Thursday night in the BankAtlantic Center in Florida.

New Jersey had lost their last five consecutive elimination games before tonight. In the overtime period, Zajac received a pass from Zach Parise in the neutral zone, carrying the puck over the blue line. He skated into the right circle and fired a shot through the five hole of Panthers' goalie Scott Clemmensen, scoring the game-winning goal at the 5:39 mark of overtime.

The goal was the third of the postseason for Zajac, who finished with two points (1g, 1a). He leads New Jersey with six points (3g, 3a) this postseason.

Clemmensen stopped 43 of 46 shots, taking his second loss of the series. Martin Brodeur earned his third win of the series, turning aside 14 of 16 shots.

Steve Bernier opened the scoring, giving New Jersey a 1-0 lead at the 16:37 mark of the first period. Ryan Carter fired a shot on net, and Clemmensen directed the rebound to the right circle. Bernier found the puck, spun and fired a shot that went through the legs of Clemmensen and off of his skate. The goal was Bernier's second of the postseason.

Ilya Kovalchuk pushed the lead to 2-0 in the second period, scoring a powerplay goal at 4:21 of the second period. Travis Zajac held the puck near the goal line at the left side of Clemmensen. Kovalchuk snuck down from the point, and was wide open in front of the net. Zajac sent Kovalchuk a pass that he one-timed into the open net for his third goal of the postseason.

Kovalchuk finished with a goal and assist in the win.

Florida tied the game in a 5:44 second span in the middle period. Kris Versteeg cut the lead to one, beating Brodeur with a shot in the slot at the 7:05 mark for his third goal of the postseason.

Sean Bergenheim tied the game at 12:49 of the second period, tallying his third postseason goal. Florida moved into the Devils zone 4-on-2, and Tyler Strachan fired a shot that Brodeur stopped. The puck trickled behind Brodeur and to Bergenheim, who put the shot into an open net.

Brodeur improved his record to 13-21 in playoff overtime games.

For more coverage of the Devils win, check out In Lou We Trust. For news on the Panthers, visit Litter Box Cats.

Final - 4.24.2012 1 2 3 OT Total
Florida Panthers 0 2 0 0 2
New Jersey Devils 1 1 0 1 3

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