NEWARK (CBSMiami/AP) — New Jersey started rookie Keith Kinkaid who stopped 26 shots and nearly had a shutout as the Devils beat the Florida Panthers 3-1 on Saturday night.
Mike Cammalleri and Steve Bernier each had a goal and an assist, while Jaromir Jagr also scored as the Devils won for the sixth time in 10 games (6-2-2).
Kinkaid got the start as Cory Schneider rested after facing a season-high 43 shots in the Devils’ 2-1 overtime loss to Pittsburgh on Friday. Kinkaid was solid as the Devils beat the Panthers at home for the fifth straight time.
Kinkaid lost the bid for his first shutout on a drive by Brandon Pirri with 1:29 left in the game.
It was a costly loss for the Panthers who hoped to gain ground in the chase for a playoff spot. Florida started the day six points behind the New York Rangers who held the second and final wild-card position in the Eastern Conference.
The Panthers play the Rangers Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Jagr and Cammalleri scored in a span of just under 5 minutes as the Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Jagr opened the scoring at 9:40 with his 10th goal of the season, the 715th of his career. Jagr is now only two goals behind Phil Esposito, fifth on the all-time list.
Set up by passes from Dainius Zubrus and Cammalleri, Jagr roofed a shot from the slot over Roberto Luongo’s left shoulder.
Cammalleri connected for a power-play tally with 5:13 remaining in the period to give New Jersey the two-goal advantage. The goal was set up by a beautiful between-the-legs backhand pass from Bernier to Cammalleri who got his team-leading 16th goal.
Kinkaid made those goals stand up.
The Panthers controlled the scoreless second period but could not put a puck past Kinkaid. Florida outshot New Jersey 12-1 with the lone Devils shot coming from Bernier as time expired.
The Panthers had several good opportunities with some of their best coming in the on the power play withAleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau swiping at a loose puck in the crease before Kinkaid covered up.
It was more of the same in third as the Devils concentrated on defending their zone while letting the Panthers carry the play.
Kinkaid made a big pad save on Huberdeau’s slapper from the left circle with 4 minutes left.
The Panthers pulled Luongo for an extra attacker in final 3 minutes.
Then Bernier iced the game with an empty netter with 2:32 to go, his fifth goal in the last six games.
NOTES: The Panthers started a three-games-in-four-nights swing through the New York area. After visiting the Rangers on Monday, the trip concludes on Long Island against the New York Islanders on Tuesday. … Andy Greene played in his 197th straight game, second-longest streak by a defenseman in Devils history. Ken Daneyko holds the club mark with 388. … The Devils scratched RW Michael Ryder and D Eric Gelinas. The Panther scratches were RW Jimmy Hayes and RW Tomas Kopecky.
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