Newark, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Marek Zidlicky scored with 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime to give the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center.
After the Devils earned a faceoff in the Florida zone four seconds before the game was headed towards a shootout, Travis Zajac won the draw and worked the puck back to Jaromir Jagr, who quickly flicked a short pass that Zidlicky perfectly one-timed into the upper right corner of the net to give his team the two points.
"I can tell you we draw up a thousand faceoff plays over the course of a season and they very rarely work," said Devils head coach Peter DeBoer. "You either lose a draw or you don't get a bounce. The credit was to the execution. Zajac, Jagr and Zid and [Steve] Bernier did a great job."
Cory Schneider, fresh off a 26-save shutout of Dallas on Thursday, turned back 29 shots to help New Jersey prevail, while Michael Ryder scored for a fourth straight outing in the win.
The Panthers came up short despite a 34-save effort out of Tim Thomas, with Nick Bjugstad accounting for the lone Florida goal.
Both goaltenders were superb during a fast-paced but scoreless third period, with Thomas withstanding 13 New Jersey chances and Schneider making the same number of stops to keep it a 1-1 game after regulation. Prior to Zidlicky's game-winner, Florida had the best chance of the extra session and nearly came out on top when Aleksander Barkov just missed from close range less than a minute in.
The Devils drew first blood with 4:38 elapsed in the contest. Adam Henrique won a battle behind the Florida net and Ryan Clowe sent the puck to an awaiting Ryder, who rifled a quick shot past Thomas' glove.
Schneider kept the Panthers off the board until deep into the second period, when a 3-on-2 rush resulted in Bjugstad tipping in Tomas Fleischmann's centering feed with 8:06 to go in the stanza.
Thomas helped send the game into OT with a sprawling save on Henrique at the doorstep of the Panthers' crease with 46 seconds remaining in the third period.
"They outplayed us most of the game," said Panthers head coach Peter Horachek said. "We scratched a point out of it. Timmy Thomas played well and kept us in it. You get a point out of something you didn't deserve."