The New Jersey Devils won their second straight contest on Saturday evening after defeating the Florida Panthers by a score of 2-1. Patrik Elias and David Clarkson netted goals and Martin Brodeur stopped 17 of 18 Florida shots to secure the victory. On the flip side, forward Ilya Kovalchuk left the game in the middle of the third period with an apparent shoulder injury. Needless to say, this is not good news for Devils fans.
The first period was, truthfully, pretty boring. No power plays, no goals, and barely any shots on goal for New Jersey. Florida led the shots on goal category after twenty minutes, 7-2.
Patrik Elias opened the scoring just 1:24 into the second frame. Elias slipped on through Scott Clemmensen's five-hole off a beautiful feed from Travis Zajac. Patty's tenth of the season gave Jersey a 1-0 lead.
David Clarkson tallied his team-leading twelfth goal 11:03 into the middle period, again on an assist from Travis Zajac. Zajac got bumped by a Panthers' defender but was able to slip the puck to Clarky, whose original shot was stopped by Clemmensen. Clarkson didn't give up on the play, found the rebound, and poked it through.
Photo by Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger.
Florida cut the lead in half with under ten seconds to go in the period off a Brodeur turn-over. Marty left the puck behind the net into the waiting hands of Tomas Fleischmann. Fleischmann was able to find Peter Mueller in front of the open net and Mueller tallied his seventh goal of the season.
The third period proved to be a key point in the game, despite seeing no goals for either team. Ilya Kovalchuk took a tumble 9:07 into the final frame. Kovy lost his edge as he swooped around the net and crashed hard into the boards. He skated off, under his own power, but in obvious pain.
Devils' coach Peter DeBoer commented on the injury after the game, saying, "He’s going to get some testing here and today and tomorrow morning and we’ll know more tomorrow. I know he was seeing the doctors here."
DeBoer added, "Injuries are a part of this. Everybody’s dealing with them. So, I think we have to be prepared for that. I think mentally coming into the season we’re prepared that we’re going to have to lose key people and be able to survive it. So no one’s feeling sorry for yourself and we’ll get through it. He’s, obviously, probably going to be out for at least a short time, so we’ll have to fill that hole."
Tim Sestito also left the game in the third, shortly after Kovalchuk, after he was cross-checked from behind hard into the boards. Sestito was down on the ice for a brief time, but was able to eventually skate off. DeBoer said he will be "fine."
- The Devils played another great game tonight, more so in the second and third period. Marty was outstanding again and his play is an encouraging sign.
- If Kovalchuk is going to be out for an extended period of time, I might just curl up into a ball and start crying. Although his numbers are not outstanding this season, his overall presence is a necessity to this team. Hopefully, the doctors have some good news for us tomorrow and Kovalchuk will not be out for too long.
The Devils will face-off against the Ottawa Senators on Monday night. Puck drop is set for 7:00. For all of your latest Devils news, reaction, and analysis, follow us on twitter. You can also like us on facebook. Our staff writers (Scott, Joey, and Mike) can also be found on twitter.