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Devils stay course in OT, force Game 7

Devils forward Travis Zajac scores the winner in OT against Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen to force Game 7. “We wanted to stay patient, especially in the third (period) and overtime,” Zajac told NBC Sports Network.”

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Devils forward Travis Zajac scores the winner in OT against Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen to force Game 7. “We wanted to stay patient, especially in the third (period) and overtime,” Zajac told NBC Sports Network.”

NEWARK, N.J. — The Panthers have waited nearly 16 years to win a playoff series. What's another two days?

Travis Zajac scored at 5:39 of overtime Tuesday night and the Devils won Game 6 and sent yet another Eastern Conference first-round series to a seventh game with a 3-2 victory over Florida.

"It's fun to be back competing and playing at this time of year," said Zajac whose season was limited to 15 regular-season games because of an Achilles' injury in August that required surgery.

Perhaps by Thursday night's Game 7 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, the Panthers will have their starting goaltender back. Last-minute replacement Scott Clemmensen turned in a sterling effort with 39 saves but couldn't eliminate the Devils in a sold-out Prudential Center.

Jose Theodore was scratched earlier in the day with what's believed to be a minor knee injury. Clemmensen started in his place, and the more desperate Devils outshot Florida 42-16.

"We expected it to be a tight game. We were in a position to win going into the third period and playing overtime on the road," Clemmensen said.

The Panthers, who tied an NHL record with 18 losses in OT or shootouts, fell to 2-4 in postseason overtimes, including the past four.

"It's probably their best game of the series," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "They had a heck of a lot of desperation and they pushed hard. I thought the last 30 minutes were even, entertainment on both ends of the ice.

The Panthers' only Game 7 was June 1, 1996 when they beat the Penguins 4-1 in Pittsburgh to reach the Stanley Cup final. That was Florida's last series win.

Kris Versteeg and Sean Bergenheim tallied for Florida, which came back from 2-0 down to tie it in the second period.

Two other East series are also going the distance: Capitals-Bruins and Senators-Rangers.

"They are fun to be part of," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said of Game 7s. "…You don't need to be nervous. You need to embrace the situation and make the best out of it."

at Devils 1 1 0 1 3
Panthers 0 2 0 0 2

First Period1, New Jersey, Bernier 2 (Carter, Harrold), 16:37. PenaltiesNone.

Second Period2, New Jersey, Kovalchuk 3 (Zajac, Sykora), 4:21 (pp). 3, Florida, Versteeg 3 (Weiss, Kulikov), 7:05. 4, Florida, Bergenheim 3 (Strachan, Goc), 12:49. PenaltiesKopecky, Fla (high-sticking), 2:25; Upshall, Fla (roughing), 18:34.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesCampbell, Fla (delay of game), :06; Elias, NJ (tripping), 2:56; Versteeg, Fla (high-sticking), 14:31. First Overtime5, New Jersey, Zajac 3 (Kovalchuk, Parise), 5:39. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalFlorida 6-4-3-3—16. New Jersey 13-16-7-6—42. Power-play opportunitiesFlorida 0 of 1; New Jersey 1 of 4. GoaliesFlorida, Clemmensen 1-2-0 (42 shots-39 saves). New Jersey, Brodeur 3-2-0 (16-14). A17,625 (17,625). T2:44.

Around the league

SENATORS: Captain Daniel Alfredsson said his uncharacteristic outburst in Monday's Game 6, when he smashed his stick over the boards, hurt Ottawa's chances of ousting the Rangers. "It was bad," Alfredsson said.

HURRICANES: Forward Jiri Tlusty signed a two-year contract worth $3.2 million to stay.

Playoffs

East

Rangers 3, Senators 3

Game 1: Rangers 4, Senators 2

Game 2: Senators 3, Rangers 2 OT

Game 3: Rangers 1, Senators 0

Game 4: Senators 3, Rangers 2 OT

Game 5: Senators 2, Rangers 0

Game 6: Rangers 3, Senators 2

Thursday: at New York, TBD, TBD

Capitals 3, Bruins 3

Game 1: Bruins 1, Capitals 0 OT

Game 2: Capitals 2, Bruins 1 2OT

Game 3: Bruins 4, Capitals 3

Game 4: Capitals 2, Bruins 1

Game 5: Capitals 4, Bruins 3

Game 6: Bruins 4, Capitals 3 OT

Today: at Boston, 7:30, NBCSN

Panthers 3, Devils 3

Game 1: Devils 3, Panthers 2

Game 2: Panthers 4, Devils 2

Game 3: Panthers 4, Devils 3

Game 4: Devils 4, Panthers 0

Game 5: Panthers 3, Devils 0

Tuesday: Devils 3, Panthers 2 OT

Thursday: at Florida, TBD, TBD

Flyers 4, Penguins 2

West

Coyotes 4, blackhawks 2

Game 1: Coyotes 3, Blackhawks 2 OT

Game 2: Blackhawks 4, Coyotes 3 OT

Game 3: Coyotes 3, Blackhawks 2 OT

Game 4: Coyotes 3, Blackhawks 2 OT

Game 5: Blackhawks 2, Coyotes 1 OT

Game 6: Coyotes 4, Blackhawks 0

Kings 4, Canucks 1

Blues 4, Sharks 1

Predators 4, Red Wings 1

Devils stay course in OT, force Game 7 04/25/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 1:28am]

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