Florida Panthers 2, New Jersey Devils 3 (OT) (Series is TIED, 3-3)
Those Who Shined
1. Travis Zajac, Center, New Jersey Devils
Let’s be honest, this was an easy choice. Travis Zajac missed a great deal of time in the regular season due to injury, which limited his production to just six points in 15 appearances — undeniably the worst numbers of his career. However, in the postseason, he has been the Devils most important skater. This was put on full display Tuesday night as he assisted New Jersey’s first goal, and then struck the back of the net with the winning tally in overtime. The two point performance gave him a team-leading six points in the series — a simply shocking number given his other 2012 statistics. Make no mistake, he is one of the biggest keys if the Devils hope to advance past round one.
2. Ilya Kovalchuk, Left Wing, New Jersey Devils
Ilya Kovalchuk has always been a player that can do it all when on the ice. In his career he has nearly 800 points and has propelled his team to victory with 55 game-winning goals — a number that some youngsters dream of scoring in a career! And, not surprisingly, he was at his finest when the Devils needed it most in game six. Kovalchuk joined Zajac as the only other New Jersey player to pick up both a goal and an assist in the win, which gives him five points thus far in the series. The chemistry between him, Zajac and Zach Parise has been excellent and it is certainly showing up in the scorebook night in and night out.
3. Scott Clemmensen, Goaltender, Florida Panthers
So, typically I avoid players on the losing team because well, they generally aren’t very successful. However, on this night, Scott Clemmensen deserves a round of applause. He faced 42 snipes — and saved 39 of them, a 92.9 save percentage — from the Devils, which was nearly 30 more then his teammates were able to throw at Martin Brodeur. This obviously put Clemmensen at a disadvantage all night because the majority of the dangerous scoring chances came on his end of the ice. Therefore, the Florida locker room should be thanking him for doing enough to send it to overtime, when this one could have been over much sooner.