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Schneider stops 32 in Devils 2-1 win over Panthers

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Bjugstad nets lone Cats goal

NHL: Florida Panthers at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers finished up its three-game road trip with a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

Taking away the two empty-net goals against Buffalo, the Cats only managed to light the lamp four times with a goalie on the ice during the 1-2 trip.

New Jersey opened the scoring 5:59 into the action when Damon Severson’s shot, which was going wide of the net, deflected off the lifted skate of Keith Yandle and by a helpless James Reimer. Former Panther Jimmy Hayes drew the only helper for winning the face-off back to Severson.

The Devils cashed in on a 5-on-3 opportunity at the 4:58 mark of the second period to double its lead. After rookies Will Butcher and Nico Hischier played catch, Butcher fed Kyle Palmieri, who ripped a one-timer over Reimer’s glove. Connor Brickley and Micheal Haley were the guilty Panthers in the box at the time of the eventual game-winning goal.

Nick Bjugstad got the Panthers on the board 2:22 later when he collected the rebound of Mike Matheson’s shot from the point and lifted the puck over Corey Schneider after the goaltender made a sprawling save on his initial attempt.

Schneider would yield no more, stopping all 17 of Florida shots in the third period to finish the game with 32 saves and take First Star honors. Here, the Devils netminder denies Jonathan Huberdeau with his skate with time running out to prevent overtime.

A night after holding Buffalo to 25 shots in a 2-1 win, the Panthers did even better in holding New Jersey to a mere 21. After giving up too many goals to win before the trip, the Panthers lost close games to the Hurricanes and Devils because all of the sudden they can’t score. The Cats will return home to face the Dallas Stars before jetting off to the left coast for three games in California.

Full Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)

Fire & Brimstone

  • The Panthers last three losses have been of the one-goal variety. A common thread in those defeats, no goals from first-liners Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov. It’s not fair, but with lack of secondary scoring on the team it’s going to be hard for the Cats to win when they don’t produce.
  • Nick Bjugstad’s goal was his first since he scored in a 5-2 win over St. Louis back on October 12. Bjugstad, who paced Florida with five shots, managed just three assists in the following eleven games.
  • Steve Santini dished out a game-high four hits. The Devils defenseman knocked Aleksander Barkov into his own bench late in the second period, much to the delight of the crowd.
  • James Reimer finished with 19 saves and lowered his GAA to 3.77 in his first action since Roberto Luongo came off injured reserve.
  • Center Derek MacKenzie did not return after sustaining a lower-body injury with 11:04 left in the second period and will be re-evaluated today.
  • Nico Hischier’s assist gave the rookie, who was the first overall pick in this summer’s draft, 11 points in 16 games.
  • Vincent Trocheck had his four-game goal-scoring streak snapped. Trocheck went 11 of 17 on face-offs and played a game-high 26:33.
  • The road trip started with Carolina ending a four-game losing streak against the Cats and ended with New Jersey doing the same. Ugh...
  • For more on Florida’s eleventh loss of the season, pay a visit to All About The Jersey.