WHAT IT MEANS: Coach Peter DeBoer failed to beat his former team as the Devils blew a three-goal lead and wound up falling, 4-3, to the Panthers. Tomas Fleischmann scored the game-winner with 2:03 left in the third period. The debacle ended New Jersey’s two-game winning streak, and means the Devils went 3-2 on their five-game road trip. The Devils are now 10-8-1, while the Southeast Division-leading Panthers are 11-6-3.
SCINTILLATING START: Ilya Kovalchuk, Petr Sykora and Dainius Zubrus scored during a span of 3:32 in the first, allowing the Devils to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
A-TRAIN DERAILED: Anton Volchenkov left the game early in the first after sustaining a vicious hit up high from Shawn Mattias. The Devils announced the physical defenseman suffered a facial laceration and would not return.
ASSIST MAN: Martin Brodeur recorded his second assist of the road trip on the Zubrus goal. Brodeur made 32 saves in a losing cause.
STAT SO?: Stephen Weiss' 4-on-3 short-handed goal at 9:12 of the third tied the game, and was the fourth shorty allowed by the Devils this season -- the most in the NHL.
THAT HURT: Kovalchuk was hit from behind by Jack Skille, who didn’t see him, midway through the third and was wincing in pain as he headed toward the bench. He did not miss any shifts.
THE KILLERS: The Devils top-ranked penalty-kill held the Panthers to 0-for-5 on the power-play.
STEEGER: Kris Versteeg, Florida’s best forward, scored two goals -- Nos. 10 and 11 -- in the second to cut New Jersey’s lead to one.
UP NEXT: Devils vs. Blue Jackets, Wednesday at 7 p.m.