The Devils made sure two metropolitan-area teams are heading to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It just took two overtimes to do it.
New Jersey beat Florida, 3-2, in double overtime on a goal from Adam Henrique 3:47 into the period. The win sets up a second-round series with Philadelphia.
Henrique was set up in the middle of the ice, about 37 feet from the net by Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson. The wrister went five-hole on Panthers goaltender Jose Theodore.
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"We talked all night about getting the goal off our forecheck," Henrique told MSG. "I just got it on net and, lucky enough, it went in."
"We could have called it," Zach Parise said of the game-winner. "It seemed like the puck was following [Henrique] all night. He caught Theodore not quite ready."
It was Henrique who set the tone for the game, netting the opener just 1:29 into the first period. Anton Volchenkov took a long slapshot from the left side, which Henrique redirected into the net.
Stephen Gionta extended the lead to 2-0 at the 9:15 mark of the second period.
But the Panthers rallied in the third period. Stephen Weiss made it 2-1 with the first of two powrr play goals at the 5:02 mark. Marcel Goc had a power play goal of his own with just 3:28 left in the game to tie it up and eventually force overtime.
"[It was] exhausting and I didn't even play," said Devils coach Pete DeBoer, who was coaching his first ever Game 7. "Fitting end to the series. Both teams battled tonight [and] glad to come out on the right side of it."
"We got the win eventually, but Florida had a hell of a series," Patrick Elias told MSG. "We made it hard on ourselves, so we've gotta smarten up going forward."
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.