Panthers 3, Devils 2, OT

Dmitry Kulikov picked a good time to get his first goal of the

season for the Florida Panthers.

Kulikov scored at 1:43 of overtime and the Panthers beat the New

Jersey Devils 3-2 on Saturday.

Kulikov’s shot from the right circle beat Martin Brodeur on the

far side.

”It’s good to get (that first goal) out of the way, and

especially to get a win for the team it’s even better,” Kulikov

said. ””It’s special to win a game in overtime, regardless.”

Shawn Matthias scored two goals for the Panthers and Jacob

Markstrom made 24 saves.

The Panthers have won two in a row at home for the first time

this season. They beat the Buffalo Sabres in a 5-4 shootout win on

Thursday.

”That was a full team effort tonight,” Panthers coach Kevin

Dineen said. ””I felt there was a lot of belief on our bench

(after that Bernier) goal. We kept putting pucks on net, and when

you do that good things happen. It was an entertaining game; the

last two have been entertaining games for our team and our

fans.”

Steve Bernier scored two goals for the Devils and Brodeur

stopped 27 shots. The Devils have lost three straight.

Matthias’ second goal tied the game at 2 with 27 seconds left in

regulation. He grabbed a rebound in front of the crease and wristed

it past Brodeur.

Matthias has a career-high 14 goals and 11 in the past 16 games.

Matthias also had two goals in Thursday’s win over Buffalo.

”I’ve had my opportunities here, and it’s up to me to take

advantage of it. It feels good to capitalize on it,” Matthias

said. ”It feels good getting that (goal) and getting that

win.”

Tied at 1, Bernier scored his second goal at 7:57 of the third

on a power play. Henrik Tallinder took a shot from the high slot

and Bernier deflected it into the net to give the Devils a 2-1

lead.

Bernier hadn’t scored a goal since March 2 at Buffalo and this

was his first multi-goal game since Feb. 3 at the New York

Islanders.

But the Devils couldn’t hold the lead and lost past regulation

for the third straight game.

”It’s better than no points. But all in those games we were

ahead in the third period,” Bernier said.

The Devils blew a two-goal lead on Friday night’s 5-4 shootout

loss at Tampa Bay, with the tying goal coming with 15.1 seconds

left.

”They hurt. We’ve got to figure out a way to close these games,

that’s the bottom line,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. ”We’re

leaving some points on the table. You hope it doesn’t come back to

haunt you.”

The Devils took a 1-0 lead on Bernier’s first goal. The Panthers

turned the puck over on a pass from behind the net and Bernier

backhanded in a pass from Ryan Carter at 3:42 of the first.

The Panthers tied it at 1 on a power-play goal by Matthias.

Jonathan Huberdeau took a shot from the right circle and Matthias

deflected it in at 12:55.

”It’s unfortunate that we’re not able to close out games,”

Brodeur said. ”Both times with less than 30 seconds and we can’t

get it done, and after that we don’t win in overtime or the

shootout. It’s disappointing, but we keep getting points and that’s

the only thing positive about it.”

Notes: Panthers RW George Parros returned from an upper-body

injury. … Panthers F Greg Rallo was reassigned to AHL San

Antonio. … The previous time the Devils visited the Panthers they

eliminated them from the opening round of the playoffs with a 3-2

double-overtime win in Game 7.