Panthers top Devils in JerseyFeb 12, 2012 - 12:26 AM
Versteeg put the Panthers ahead in the second period with his fifth goal in four meetings against New Jersey this season, sending Florida to a 3-1 win over the Devils at the Prudential Center.
Former Devils backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen got the better of his former teammate, Martin Brodeur, stopping 27 shots in Florida's second straight win. Sean Bergenheim also scored and Mikael Samuelsson added an empty-net goal in the victory.
Clemmensen said the Panthers are translating what they learn in practice to the game.
"For me it's like a practice day," Clemmensen said. "You have to be good in practice. In this league everyone is so good. You have to do it day in and day out."
Brodeur, returning after a one-game absence because of an ankle injury, turned aside 17 shots in New Jersey's second straight loss and first regulation defeat in eight games (5-1-2). Steve Bernier scored the lone goal for the Devils.
Versteeg gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead at 7:43 of the second period after New Jersey twice failed to clear its own zone.
The Panthers managed to keep the puck in and Stephen Weiss' shot from the top of the slot was deflected by a New Jersey defender. The puck went directly to Versteeg, who snapped a shot from the left circle past Brodeur for his 21st goal of the season.
"It wasn't anything they did... we started to throw the puck away," said New Jersey captain Zach Parise. "It's frustrating because we've been playing really well of late. It wasn't a great effort by us."
Versteeg finished the season series with five goals and one assist. Clemmensen also continued to haunt his old team, improving to 4-0 lifetime against the Devils. He stopped all nine shots he faced in the second period and seven more in the third.
The Devils failed to convert a late power play -- their only chance of the game -- and Samuelsson found the empty cage with 25 seconds remaining.
New Jersey grabbed the lead just 1:39 into the game when Bernier deflected the puck past Clemmensen. Dainius Zubrus intercepted a poor clearing pass along the right boards and sent pass toward the net. The puck first tipped the stick of Alexei Ponikarovsky before Bernier chipped it through the five-hole for his first goal as a Devil.
The Panthers tied it on a power play with 4:52 left in the opening period. Moments after Zubrus took a hooking penalty, Bergenheim deflected Erik Gudbranson's shot from just above the left circle past Brodeur for his 11th goal of the season.
"We came out well, the first 10 minutes," said Devils head coach Pete DeBoer. "We were playing our seventh game in  days and I think we ran out of little bit of gas."
The teams split the four-game season series, each winning once at home and on the road. It marked the third straight season-series split between the teams...Florida improved to 12-12-4 on the road this season...The Devils hadn't lost in regulation since a 4-1 setback against Philadelphia on January 21...Parise had a seven-game point streak stopped.
- FLORIDA: 3
NEW JERSEY: 1
Feb 11 3:29 PM
- Florida Empty Net Goal - Mikael Samuelsson, at 19:35.
Panthers 3, Devils 1 3rd - 0:25Feb 11 3:26 PM
- FLORIDA: 2
NEW JERSEY: 1
End of 2nd
Feb 11 2:34 PM
- Florida Goal - Kris Versteeg (21), from Stephen Weiss at 7:43.
Panthers 2, Devils 1 2nd - 12:17Feb 11 2:13 PM
- FLORIDA: 1
NEW JERSEY: 1
End of 1st
Feb 11 1:43 PM
- Shawn Matthias wrist shot on Martin Brodeur.
Panthers 1, Devils 1 1st - 3:58Feb 11 1:39 PM
- Sean Bergenheim tip-in shot on Martin Brodeur.
Panthers 0, Devils 1 1st - 4:52Feb 11 1:37 PM
- Florida Power-Play Goal - Sean Bergenheim (11), from Erik Gudbranson and Marcel Goc at 15:08.
Panthers 1, Devils 1 1st - 4:52Feb 11 1:37 PM
- New Jersey Goal - Steve Bernier, from Alexei Ponikarovsky and Dainius Zubrus at 1:39.
Panthers 0, Devils 1 1st - 18:21Feb 11 1:12 PM
- FLORIDA: 0
NEW JERSEY: 0
1st Period - 20:00
Feb 11 1:08 PM
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