The Florida Panthers are fresh off winning their first-ever division title and are hosting the New Jersey Devils on Friday night in the first game of their opening-round series in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. As the game enters the first intermission, the Panthers are in a deep hole early, trailing 3-0.
Patrik Elias got the Devils on the board first, scoring a goal at 6:31 to put New Jersey on top 1-0. The Devils were relentless and dominating like the heavy favorites that they are in this series (despite the seeding). They took 26 shots on goal in the first period, compared to just nine by the Panthers.
A penalty on Shawn Matthias sent him to the box on a double minor for high sticking on Andy Greene. It was a badly blown call at first glance. After seeing the replay, it ended up being a horribly blown call, as it was clear Greene was borderline cross-checking Mathias when Mathias' elbow caused Greene's own stick to fly up into his face. You can see that play here and just how
Florida coach Kevin Dineen had plenty to say about the penalty and it wasn't exactly pretty.
The resulting power play off the Mathias penalty proved to be immensely costly and led to the second Devils goal, as Jose Theodore saved and deflected shot after shot, but was eventually overwhelmed and Dainius Zubrus found the net on this shot.
The Panthers barely had time to catch their breath, as the Devils nailed their third unanswered goal just seconds later. You can see that Ryan Carter goal below, which may very well end up being the backbreaker for Florida.