Panthers rally from 3-0 hole, defeat Devils, 4-3
The Devils buzzed around the Florida net in the closing minutes but Clemmensen stopped David Clarkson on a shot from the circle with about a minute to go and Parise misfired on a shot between the circles with the net open in the closing 20 seconds.
"He was unbelievable," Campbell said of Clemmensen. "He's played great for us all year. That's a strength of our team, having two solid goaltenders."
The Panthers seemingly were out of the game until Elias took a very foolish unsportsmanlike minor for a late hit after an icing call against the Devils.
Florida was 3 of 7 with the extra man in the first two games of the series and they only got better in Game 3.
Scottie Upshall banged a long pass off the ends boards from center ice and Bergenheim raced in, collected the puck and beat Brodeur with a perfect shot into the upper corner of the net with 3:49 left in the period to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Before the period ended, it was a one-goal game, and again the power play was the difference.
Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador was sent off for roughing with just under two minutes left in the period and Garrison beat Brodeur with a shot from about 10 feet inside the blue line.
Florida needed only 2:18 into the second period to tie the game and again Elias helped the Panthers.
Jerred Smithson deflected a clearing attempt by Elias along the left boards and the puck went cross ice to Weaver. His 40-foot shot went into the net with Upshall screening Brodeur, who was lifted after the play, ending his shortest stint in a playoff game.
The Devils had a couple of pucks slide by the goal and had one apparent tally waved off by referee Tim Peel late in the second. Steve Bernier fell into Clemmensen moments before a point shot by Zidicky hit off the goaltender and went into the net.
Peel never hesitated in waving off the goal, while at the time saying the incidental contact did not merit a penalty.
The Devils almost ran the Panthers out of the Prudential Center in the opening 6:16 of the first, scoring three times on six shots and forcing Florida coach Kevin Dineen to insert Clemmensen for a shellshocked Theodore, who was hung out to dry by his teammates.
Parise, who had failed to score in the first two games despite getting 12 shots, scored on his first shift just 33 seconds after the opening faceoff. Theodore was handcuffed on a shot from the boards by Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils captain eventually collected the loose puck and ripped a shot into an open net, igniting a roar from the sellout crowd that was barley in its seats.
Gionta, a late-season call up from Albany, stretched the advantage to two goals at 3:27, deflecting a point shot by Marek Zidlicky into the net.
The rout seemed in full gear at 6:16 when Elias scored into an open net after a scramble in front.
Little did anyone realize, the Devils would not celebrate again.
NOTES: The last time Brodeur was pulled from a playoff game was in 2006 in a 6-0 loss to Carolina. ...The Devils did not have a shot for the final 12:15 of the first period. ... Clemmensen had an assist on the Bergenheim goal that got the Panthers going in the first period. ... The Panthers made one lineup change, scratching Wojtek Wolski and replacing him with Smithson. ... The Devils allowed a league-low 27 power-play goals in the regular season.