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Panthers 3, Devils 2

The SportsXchange

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers scored with 27 seconds left in regulation and again in overtime to defeat the New Jersey Devils, 3-2, Saturday night at the BB&T Center.

With 3:17 left in overtime, Dmitry Kulikov scored the game-winner with assists from Brian Campbell and Jonathan Huberdeau.

With just 27 seconds left in regulation, the Panthers tied the score 2-2 on a goal by Shawn Matthias, his second of the night. Scottie Upshall got the assist.

The Devils had taken a 2-1 lead on Steve Bermier's power-play goal - his second tally of the night - with 12:03 left in the game.

Bermier's goal was his eighth of the season. The assist went to defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who fired a slapshot that Bermier was able to tip in to beat rookie Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom.

The win went to veteran goalie Martin Brodeur, who was brilliant over the final two periods and improved his record this season to 11-2-5.

Even with the win, the Panthers, with 28 points, are last in the Eastern Conference.

The Devils now have 39 points in 35 games, good enough for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

The teams exchanged first-period goals. The Devils struck first, with 3:42 elapsed, as Bernier parked just to the right of the net and scored easily on a backhand shot. The assists went to former Panther Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta.

The Panthers tied the score on a power-play goal with 12:55 elapsed. Capitalizing on a high-sticking call on Alexei Ponikarovsky, the Panthers worked the puck with some skillful cross-ice passing that resulted in Matthias' tip-in.

It was Matthias' 13th goal of the season, adding to what was already a career-high total for the 25-year-old winger.

The assists were from Huberdeau, who is tied with Matthias for tops on the team in goals, and Peter Mueller. The three forwards were first put on a line together in Thursday's 5-4 win over Buffalo in which they combined for six points.

NOTES: This was the Devils' first game in the BB&T Center since they eliminated the Panthers from last year's playoffs with a Game 7 victory in the conference quarterfinals. That was last April 26, and Adam Henrique had the honors with an overtime goal. ... The NHL trade deadline expires Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET and two Panthers players who have had good seasons -- forwards Peter Mueller and Shawn Matthias -- could be moved. Both are restricted free agents, and with the Panthers a long way from playoff contention, Florida may decide to try to extract some top-level prospects in exchange. ... Panthers forward George Parros (upper-body injury) has been medically cleared to play. ... Devils winger Matt D'Agostini, recently acquired from the St. Louis Blues, is coming off his best game yet for New Jersey. He had two assists against Tampa Bay on Friday. ... The Panthers sent defensemen Mike Caruso and Colby Robak back down to their AHL affiliate in San Antonio. ... Florida's Eric Selleck and Jack Skille are out with concussions. ... The Devils scratched three players Saturday: winger Kryst Barch and defensemen Peter Harrold and Anton Volchenkov. Barch is a former Panther. ... Up next for the Panthers is Tuesday's road game at Tampa Bay. ... The Devils return home to play host to the New York Islanders on Monday.
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