Discussion: Panthers shutout the Devils, take 3-2 series lead

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The last time the New Jersey Devils made it past the first round was 2007 and they are now just one loss away from prolonging that slump. After being largely regarded as the favorites in this series despite the seeding, the Devils have largely failed to impress. They took an early lead in Game 1, but since the Florida Panthers got their act together, they’ve been largely the better team. Game 4 on Thursday was the exception to that rule, but the Panthers bounced right back with this 3-0 victory.

Here’s some interesting notes:

  • The Devils experimented with a number of different top line combinations in the third period. They went with a combination of Adam Henrique, Zach Parise, and Ilya Kovalchuk, before swapping Parise out with Alexei Ponikarovsky, and eventually going back to Parise, Kovalchuk, and Travis Zajac.
  • The Devils’ penalties proved to be costly in this game. Florida’s Kris Versteeg netted a power-play goal and overall they served to occasionally disrupt any momentum New Jersey could get.
  • Martin Brodeur was far from perfect, but he still managed to get 30 saves. At the end of the day, he wasn’t the biggest reason the Devils lost this game.
  • Tomas Kopecky got credited with an empty net goal without the puck actually going into the net. He had a clear path to the net, but was hooked, so they gave him the goal.
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