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Panthers Take 3-2 Series Lead, Beat Devils 3-0

Kris Versteeg scored a goal and set up another, Jose Theodore made 30 saves for his second postseason shutout, and the Florida Panthers moved a win away from their first series win in 16 years with a 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils positions himself in front of goaltender Jose Theodore #60
Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils positions himself in front of goaltender Jose Theodore #60 (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Scottie Upshall also scored for Florida, which leads the Eastern Conference first-round series 3-2. The Panthers’ last series victory came in the 1996 East finals, and they’ll have two chances to snap that drought.

Tomas Kopecky was credited with an empty-net goal with 34 seconds left, after Ilya Kovalchuk impeded his clear path to the net.

Martin Brodeur made 30 saves for New Jersey, which hosts a win-or-else Game 6 on Tuesday night. If necessary, Game 7 is at Florida on Thursday night.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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