The New Jersey Devils took a 1-0 series lead against the Florida Panthers on Friday. The Devils got 3 goals in the first period, all of which where fantastic goals. Patrik Elias got the Devils on the board with a gorgeous goal. He got the puck and had the most patience I've seen in a player in a long time, deked a couple times and scored a sharp angle goal. Danius Zubrus scored the 2nd goal of the night on a 4 minute powerplay. Martin Brodeur made a long pass to David Clarkson who fed it to Zubrus for the powerplay goal. Within a minute, the Devils scored the 3rd goal showed how hard Ryan Carter, who was put on waivers by the Florida Panthers earlier in the season, works along the boards to steal the puck and take it to the net for a great goal.
One would think that the 3-0 lead in the first sealed the deal for the Devils to win Game 1, but one can't help but think of the first meeting of the season between these two teams when the Devils were up by 3 and ended up losing the game. One also has the bring up the epic collapse of the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the week against the Philadelphia Flyers where the Penguins scored 3 goals and let the Flyers come back to win the game. The Devils enjoy making every fan think they are on the verge of a heart attack. The Panthers scored 2 goals in the 2nd period by Bergenheim and Versteeg to make this a 1 goal game going into the 3rd. The Devils had some great chances, but Jose Theodore made some fantastic saves to keep Florida in the game. The Panther's defense was essentially non-existent as the Devils had more than 20 shots in the 1st period. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Devils shut down the Panther's offense and Brodeur was...well...Brodeur. This win was Martin Brodeur's 100th career playoff win, along with coach Peter DeBoer's first and Ilya Kovalchuk's second playoff win. Throughout his career, Brodeur has 9 assists and 1 goal. That stat shows how great of a stickhandler Brodeur is and how much of an asset he is during any playoff series.
What do the Devils have to do for Game 2? The same thing. That's definitely easier said than done as the Panthers will come out in Game 2 with everything they have in order not to lose the home-ice advantage. The Devils cannot sit back because the Panther's powerful 1st line will demolish the Devils' defense. The Devils will also need to continue the discipline they showed during Game 1 and take very few penalties. The Devils were very successful in drawing penalties against the Panthers and this proved to be a game changer. The Panthers do not want to dig themselves in a 0-2 hole when they hit the road and play in New Jersey and the Devils need to be fully prepared to respond on Sunday.