NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey forward Kyle Palmieri said it was a “judgment” call. Florida coach Bob Boughner had a different perspective.
Everyone agreed it was a big play.
Palmieri scored a questionable goal late in the first period, and the Devils stopped a three-game slide by topping the Panthers 3-2 on Saturday.
Taylor Hall and Blake Coleman also scored for New Jersey, which won for the first time since opening the season with four consecutive victories. Keith Kinkaid made 35 saves and Nico Hischier had two assists.
“It’s huge. … We can’t be a streaky team,” Kinkaid said. “We want to be a consistent team and it was key to have a good start today and keep that going.”
Florida lost for the third time in four games. Mike Matheson and Mike Hoffman scored for the Panthers, and James Reimer made 23 stops.
Next up for Florida is a trip to Finland. The Panthers play Winnipeg in Helsinki on Thursday and Friday as part of the NHL’s Global Series.
New Jersey went ahead to stay with 9.5 seconds remaining in the opening period.
Palmieri appeared to brush Reimer just as Damon Severson’s point shot arrived and Florida challenged for goalie interference. The score was upheld after a lengthy video review, giving Palmieri a team-leading eighth goal.
“I’m still very confused on what happened on the first call with the goalie interference,” Boughner said. “Reims had to stick his arm out to make a blocker save and the contact with the goalie wound up pushing the puck in. I don’t know what the rule is anymore. That could have, and it did, cost us a point, in my mind.”
For his part, Palmieri downplayed the contact with Reimer.
“It’s tricky, Palmieri said. “It probably looked like a lot more contact than it actually was. I went to the net and caught his blocker on my shoulder there, but it’s hard. It’s a judgment call, but it went our way so you can’t complain about those.”
Prior to the opening score, the momentum belonged to the Panthers, who spent most of the period in the New Jersey zone.
They missed several excellent power-play chances. Kinkaid denied Hoffman from the right circle, Vincent Trocheck hit the post and Jonathan Huberdeau flipped a shot over the net.
There was no disputing New Jersey’s second goal 3:05 into the second period. All alone in the slot, Hall got a pass from Palmieri and beat Reimer to extend his point streak to seven games.
Coleman made it 3-0 when he scored his third goal of the season at 13:21.
The Panthers’ frustration continued in the second. Hoffman was denied again by Kinkaid’s sliding pad stop on his shot from the right dot. Hoffman responded by slashing the back of the cage.
In the third, Kinkaid lost his bid for a shutout when Matheson glided through the slot and tucked the puck home with 4:57 remaining.
With Reimer on the bench for an extra attacker, Hoffman scored with 15 seconds left on his eighth shot of the game. And the Panthers were left to wonder how the afternoon might have gone had the interference challenge gone their way.
“It’s kind of a kick in the gut,” Reimer said. “On the other side, there is nothing you can do about it. It’s not like you made a mistake. It’s kind of out of your control and you move on from there. It’s unfortunate. Usually those calls have a way of evening themselves out. I’m sure we’ll get one of those as the year goes on.”
NOTES: Devils F Joey Anderson made his NHL debut. … New Jersey now heads out for a seven-game trip. The Devils next play at the Prudential Center on Nov. 13 when Pittsburgh comes to town. .. Devils fan Lauren “The Warrior” Liff fulfilled a long-time goal by singing the National Anthem. Liff, who suffers from multiple chronic pain illnesses, received a warm round of applause from the crowd.
Panthers: Play the Jets in Finland on Thursday.
Devils: Visit Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
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