Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

No Kicking Back Now in Florida

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

No Kicking Back Now in Florida

Article excerpt

SUNRISE, Fla. - Getting one win in Florida was essential, but the Devils aren't willing to stop there.

After a 3-2 victory over the Panthers in Game 1 of the Eastern quarterfinals on Friday, the Devils would love to head home after Game 2 tonight with a 2-0 series lead - an advantage from which they have never failed to advance.

"We know that they'll be better [tonight] and we want to get another one," center Patrik Elias said Saturday. "That would set ourselves up really well for our next two home games."

If the Devils had lost Game 1, they would no doubt be talking about needing only a split of the first two games to head back to Prudential Center for Game 3 on Tuesday night in good shape. They can do no worse than 1-1 now, but coach Pete DeBoer isn't worried about his team feeling satisfied.

"That's not something I'm going to have to sell," DeBoer said. "I think they recognize that opportunity, and it's up to us as a group to go out and really try to put them in a hole."

"I don't think the attitude in here is going home happy with a split," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "We want to win that second one really badly. I'm sure they're preaching the same thing: that it's only one game. We've got a long ways to go."

The Devils are 10-0 when winning the first two games of a best- of-seven series, but have not won the first two games on the road since the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit (they went on to a four-game sweep and their first championship). They realize the Panthers will push back hard at BankAtlantic Center, though, to avoid that 0-2 deficit.

The Panthers, who are in the postseason for the first time since the Devils swept them in the first round in 2000, have lost nine consecutive playoff games dating to a Game 2 loss to the Rangers in a 1997 first-round series.

"It's pressure on them now," Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk said. "We won the first game and [tonight] it's a big test for us. They're going to bring their 'A' game for sure. They were a little slow from the start, maybe a little nervous for the first game, but [tonight] they'll be ready."

The Devils were able to jump on the Panthers in the first period Friday, outscoring them, 3-0, and outshooting them, 26-9. …

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