Reporting Tim Kephart
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SUNRISE, Fla. (CBSMiami.com) – Sports fans may not believe it, but the Florida Panthers are the hottest professional team in South Florida.
The Panthers’ latest victim was the New Jersey Devils. The Cats were down 3-0 early and came storming back in the game to tie the game, 3-3.
Then, Tomas Fleischmann put the proverbial biscuit in the basket at the 17:57 mark of the third period to give the Panthers a 4-3 victory.
“Those guys didn’t cover me and I was there by myself,” Fleischmann said. “I felt you have to do something against Brodeur because he had a great angle, so I just faked the shot, went to the side and it worked out.”
It was only the second time in franchise history that the Panthers could overcome a three-goal deficit.
The Panthers pulled off a similar feat in 2009 when it beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime.
Panthers goalie Jose Theodore stopped 22 shots in the game and was lights out after giving up the early goals to the Devils. New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur had 32 saves in a losing effort.
After scoring two goals for the Cats Monday night, Kris Versteeg has increased his season total to 11 goals scored in just 20 games played.
Monday’s win pushed the Panthers’ overall record to 11-6-3 and the Cats now lead the Southeast division by two points and are just two points off the lead in the Eastern Conference.
The Panthers are off Tuesday and will return to the ice Wednesday night at the Bank Atlantic Center when they battle the New York Rangers.
The Cats also have another home game on Friday night against the cross-state rival Tampa Bay Lightning.
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