Every time a Panther fan watches a playoff hockey game that goes into overtime, their stomach turn with the remembrance of the Panthers being eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in double overtime during game seven just a short time ago. The Panthers came into the first round as the underdog despite being the number three seed in the east. As the heavily favored Devils team took the ice for game one, they quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead. As the first period in game one continued, fans became restless as they were watching their team getting completely outplayed. Since the end of that first period things began to change. The Panthers relentlessly tried to fight their way back into the game. Despite not winning the game, they were able to manage two goals in the final 40 minutes of play while the Devils failed to score.
Even with a game one lost, the Panthers still seemed to have all of the momentum. With game two being another home game, the Panthers took all of their momentum and put on a tremendous display of discipline and perseverance as they successfully took game two.
For the rest of the series the Panthers continued to play well. Coming into the series no one saw a game seven coming. Unfortunately the Devils were able to earn the W in a game seven overtime thriller as Adam Henrique scored the game winning goal less than 4 minutes into the second overtime.
As the Devils continued to work hard night in and night out, their 2nd round opponent, had other things in mind. The Philadelphia Flyers went up against the Pittsburgh Penguins in what was supposed to be a close series. However, it was just the opposite. The Flyers jumped out to a quick 3-0 series lead as players such as Danny Briere and Claude Giroux jolted Philly’s offense against rattled goaltender Marc-Andre Fluery. The Flyers looked very dominate against the team that was favored to win the Stanley Cup. The Flyers looked extremely dominated in the series against Pittsburgh and went onto win the series 4 games to 2.
With the two teams set to face each other, a lot of people, including me had the Flyers just coming in and taking care of business yet again. Personally I had the Flyers winning in five. I thought that the Flyers way of play would just be way too much for the Devils and the aging Martin Brodeur to overcome. Boy was I wrong. The Devils came in with the reversed role. They went from being favored to being the underdogs. Lately they have been playing as the favorites. Martin Brodeur seems to have gained a whole new form of youth and energy as he has continued to play great throughout the series giving the Devils a chance to score goals and win hockey games. And that’s exactly what they have been doing.
After falling to Philadelphia in game one, people began to think that it was going to continue to be a one-sided series. The Devils, led by former Panthers coach Peter DeBoer knew that they need to make severe adjustments to their game in order for them to have success against the red hot Flyers. Since they are the DEVILS they wanted to be the ones that were red hot..Yes I know my jokes aren’t funny! However, the Devils have suddenly came back and made this an exciting series to watch. After suffering a game one loss, the Devils seemed to have regained their mojo as they have looked much stronger all around then the Flyers have.
So far for the Devils you would have to think that Travis Zajac and Martin Brodeur are the MVP’s for this series. Zajac has provided the Devils with offense as his great skating ability continues to be on display while Brodeur has looked like the Broduer of old. This series has been hard fought from the beginning and it will be interesting to see if New Jersey will be able to continue playing the way they have been as they look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead Sunday night at home in front of what is sure to be a sellout crowd. I believe that the Devils definitely have a chance to win the game, however I like the Flyers to get a bounce back win and take the momentum back to Philadelphia and eventually win the series in 7.
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