EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The message from coach Mike Keenan
to the Florida Panthers finally got through: go hard to the net and
good things can happen.
The Panthers, who scored only nine goals in their first six
games, broke out.
Jay Bouwmeester and Olli Jokinen scored 42 seconds apart late in
the third period to back Roberto Luongo's 32-save effort Wednesday
night as Florida pulled out a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey
"We just had to keep driving to the net and have the puck go
there with the action," Keenan said. "It doesn't matter who is in
net. Even the best goaltenders in the world, if the shots are
tipped or screened or deflected, it's tough on them."
The Panthers snapped a five-game winless streak (0-3-2) and
posted their first victory since beating Carolina on opening night.
"It's huge," Luongo said. "We didn't get any wins on the
first two games of this road trip and we didn't want to go home
Bouwmeester tied it at 14:37 with a sharp-angle shot from the
right corner that Kristian Huselius appeared to deflect.
Jamie Langenbrunner scored at 5:15 of the third period to give
New Jersey a 1-0 lead. John Madden carried the puck down the left
wing and fed a pass to Langenbrunner, who cut through the slot to
The Devils' failure to preserve that lead bothered Devils
defenseman Scott Niedermayer.
"It's disappointing," he said. "For most of the game, we did
the right thing. Give them credit for playing hard but we know what
to do in those situations."
The Devils' failure to win on home ice has emerged as an
early-season problem. The defending Stanley Cup champions are 0-2-1
at Continental Airlines Arena.
"We're too good a team to let other teams hang around like
that, especially in our building," forward Jeff Friesen said.
The Devils outshot the Panthers 15-7 in the first period. New
Jersey got many of those shots in the closing minutes as Florida
wound up in penalty trouble.
Luongo was equal to the task as he stopped Friesen on a stuff
attempt, blocked Scott Stevens' sharp-angle shot through a screen,
and kicked out Langenbrunner's dead-on shot from the slot.
Both teams had six shots in the second period. Brodeur made a
pair of close-range stops on Viktor Kozlov early on while the
Devils threatened with a flurry in the closing minutes. David Hale
hit the post, and Luongo made a glove save on Patrik Elias.
Sean Brown played his first game for New Jersey. The
free-agent defenseman, who signed with the Devils over the summer,
sat out the team's first four games as a healthy scratch. ...
Stevens played for the Devils despite missing two days of practice
with a cold and sore throat. ... Niedermayer returned for New
Jersey after missing one game due to a sore back. ... Valeri Bure
and Matt Cullen of the Panthers remain sidelined because of groin