After going the entire first period without a penalty either way, Florida Panthers center Tomas Kopecky had New Jersey Devils defenseman Peter Harrold run face-first into his stick just a couple of minutes into the second.
The Panthers did well during the first 1:56 of the Devils' ensuing power play, but Ilya Kovalchuk broke through right in front of Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen, giving the Devils a 2-0 lead with just more than 16 minutes to go in the second period.
That was a terrific pass from Travis Zajac from behind the goal. Zajac left the game just a couple minutes later after an impressive shift with what appeared to be a leg injury, but he stayed on the bench and returned just a few minutes later.
Just four minutes after Kovalchuk's goal, the Panthers answered with a goal of their own, off the stick of Kris Versteeg, his third of this high-scoring series. But the Panthers didn't sit idle long.
Despite not drawing a single penalty against the Devils — considering how these playoffs have been going, that might be the most surprising development through two-thirds of this game — the Panthers were able to get another scoring opportunity less than six minutes later. After Martin Brodeur mishandled a routine shot attempt, Steve Bergenheim was there with the niceness on the rebound:
Devils fans in attendance were upset that a tripping wasn't called against Kovalchuck just seconds before the goal — the bench had their arms raised in protest as well — but the refs' whistles were silent.
That wasn't the case a few minutes later, when the extra-curriculars started. A scrum around the Panthers goal and wound up with Scottie Upshall in the penalty box for going all UFC on former Panther Steve Bernier, giving the Devils their second power play of the period for the last minute and change.
The Panthers killed the first 1:25 of the power play however, and the Devils will have 35 seconds of a man advantage to start the final period, tied 2-2.