WHAT IT MEANS: No 3-0 lead is safe -- even for the Devils.
New Jersey’s 56-game playoff winning streak when leading by three or more goals came to an end on Tuesday night at Prudential Center.
According to Elias, the Devils were 57-1 in playoff games in which they led by three or more goals. They hadn’t lost since April 10, 1988 against the Islanders.
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen complained about how bad the ice was in the morning. After a wild-and-crazy Game 3 in which his team rallied from an abysmal start, he probably won’t be complaining ... as much. Florida leads the best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarterfinals series 2-1.
The Devils have now lost 10 of their last 13 home games in the postseason.
OY, MARTY: Martin Brodeur was yanked after surrendering three goals on 12 shots in 22:18 -- the shortest playoff start of his 18-year future Hall of Fame career. The last time Brodeur was pulled was May 6, 2006 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The goalie who replaced him? That’s right, Scott Clemmensen.
It took a lot of moxie for coach Peter DeBoer to pull Brodeur and insert backup Johan Hedberg. And it will be interesting to hear how arguably the greatest netminder ever feels about the move. DeBoer made the switch after Brodeur allowed an extremely soft goal by Mike Weaver from the point 2:18 into the second period.
Hedberg’s last playoff appearance? A start against the Rangers with the Thrashers on April 18, 2007.
KRYPTONITE: The Devils set an NHL record for penalty-kill percentage during the regular season. You wouldn’t know it by the way their PK has performed in the playoffs. The Devils allowed three power-play goals for the first time all season on Tuesday night.
Patrik Elias and Bryce Salvador committed undisciplined penalties that led to Sean Bergenheim’s and Jason Garrison’s power-play markers that allowed the Panthers to get right back in the match. And Brian Campbell wristed one from the right circle past Hedberg to give Florida its first lead at 6:34 of the middle frame.
The Panthers are converted at a 60 percent success rate on the man-advantage for the series (6-for-10).
ON FIRE: The Devils scored on three of their first six shots in a span of 6:16 to chase Jose Theodore from the Florida net. Zach Parise got the scoring started with his first of the playoffs 33 seconds in, and Stephen Gionta (first-career playoff goal) and Elias (second of the series) followed with goals, prompting Dineen to pull Theodore and insert Clemmensen. At that point, Prudential Center was rocking. It wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Clemmensen, who saved all 19 shots he faced in relief, is 5-0 career against his former team.
NO GOAL: Marek Zidlicky appeared to tie the game from the point with 1:24 remaining in the second. But the goal was disallowed by referee Steve Kozari because of incidental contact between Steve Bernier and Clemmensen in the crease prior to the marker. It appeared Ed Jovanovski knocked into Bernier before he made contact with Clemmensen. Irate fans booed and hurled obscenities at the officials for the rest of the game.
MAKING HISTORY: Neither starting goalie played more than 23 minutes. It’s the first time that’s happened in the playoffs in 21 years. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the last such occurrence was May 23, 1991: Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota. Tom Barrasso played 20 minutes, while Jon Casey lasted 14 minutes.
UP NEXT: Game 4, Thursday night at Prudential Center