Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Facing Fast Exit

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Facing Fast Exit

Article excerpt

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Devils were back in an all-too-familiar situation as they left BankAtlantic Center on Saturday night to fly back to New Jersey.

After a frustrating 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Devils must find a way to win Game 6 at home Tuesday night to keep their season alive.

Playing at home should be a source of comfort for the Devils, but they are 0-4 in their last four elimination games on home ice and are 4-8 in postseason contests at Prudential Center since moving from the Meadowlands to Newark in 2007-08.

"We don't care about the past," Devils captain Zach Parise said defiantly. "We have to find a way to win two in a row. We have to win. We have no choice."

The Devils have gone 27 consecutive playoff games without winning two in a row since taking the last three of a 2007 first-round series against Tampa Bay - the last time they made it out of the first round. In their history, the Devils have won just two of seven series in which they trailed 3-2, but they are facing a Panthers team that has not won a playoff series since the 1996 Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh.

"We know the spot we're in," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "We've got to win at home and then we're playing one game to move on. So, we've got to take care of business at home."

The Panthers have to be brimming with confidence after getting a 30-save shutout from goaltender Jose Theodore, who rebounded from being pulled in his previous start in Game 3. The shot number was deceiving, though, as the Devils did not do nearly enough to test Theodore in his second career postseason shutout.

"All those shots were from the outside," said Ilya Kovalchuk, who appears to be trying to play through some type of injury, but denies it. "Especially on the power play, we didn't create anything. So, we've got to work on that the next couple of days. It's good that we have a couple of days off and we've go to regroup and be ready to go."

After a fairly even and scoreless first period, the Devils got off to a sloppy start in the second with Marek Zidlicky going off for interference with Sean Bergenheim at 3:30, giving the Panthers their first power play of the game. …

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