Series (Game 1 of 4)

New Jersey leads 3-1

Game 1: Wednesday, October 22nd
Game 2: Thursday, November 13th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 3rd
Game 4: Tuesday, March 23rd

Panthers 2

(2-3-0, 6 pts)

Devils 1

(1-2-0, 4 pts)

7:30 PM ET, October 22, 2003

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, New Jersey

1 2 3 T
FLA 0 0 22
NJ 0 0 11

R. Luongo (Panthers - G): Saves: 32, Save Pct.: .970

M. Brodeur (Devils - G): Saves: 21, Save Pct.: .913

J. Langenbrunner (Devils - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Florida scores 42 seconds apart late in third

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 Devils.

"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 empty-handed."

Bouwmeester tied it at 14:37 with a sharp-angle shot from the right corner that Kristian Huselius appeared to deflect.

Jokinen quickly followed with the game-winner as he knocked the rebound of Niklas Hagman's shot past Martin Brodeur.

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 beat Luongo.

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.

Game notes

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 injuries.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press