Captain Zach Parise's power play goal gave the New Jersey Devils a 1-0 lead over the Florida Panthers that they'll take into the third period of Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
The Panthers lead the series, 2-1.
Parise's goal, his second of the playoffs and 15th career playoff goal, came when he tipped the puck over the glove hand of Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen, who had stopped the first 31 shots he faced after replacing Jose Theodore early in the first period of Game 3. Parise actually deflected a shot from Marek Zidlicky that was initially tipped by Travis Zajac.
The Devils had a golden opportunity to increase their lead to 2-0 with seven minutes remaining in the period, but Stephen Gionta missed the empty net on a one-timer feed from Steve Bernier. A few moments earlier, Gionta rubbed out Panthers defenseman Keaton Ellerby along the boards, with Ellerby suffering a hip injury as the door to the Devils unexpectedly opened.
Ellerby had logged 8:42 of ice time on Thursday night and an injury to him would leave the Panthers with just five defensemen. The Panthers are playing without defenseman Jason Garrison, who has averaged over 22 minutes per night in the first three games and was a late scratch with a "lower body injury" tonight.
The story of the game continues to be future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur, who has stopped all 17 shots he's faced, almost all with ease, after being pulled in Tuesday night's Game 3 loss. Clemmensen has played well for the Panthers, stopping 16 of the 17 shots he's faced and standing little chance of stopping the one he let in.