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NHL: New Jersey 3, Florida 2 (OT)

April 24, 2012 at 10:48 PM

NEWARK, N.J., April 24 (UPI) -- Travis Zajac netted the game-winner 5:39 into overtime Tuesday, enabling the New Jersey Devils to defeat Florida 3-2 and avoid first-round playoff elimination.

Ilya Kovalchuk hooked up with Zajac on a cross-ice pass and the Devils center skated down the left side before uncoiling a wrist shot that beat Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen low.

Kovalchuk and Steve Bernier each had a goal for the Devils, who evened their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series 3-3 and forced a decisive Game 7 Thursday in Florida.

Martin Brodeur needed to make only 14 saves in the victory, while Clemmensen was forced to make 39 stops in the Panthers' loss.

Sean Bergenheim and Kris Versteeg scored for Florida.

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