(SportsNetwork.com) - The Florida Panthers will attempt to get their playoff chances back on track Saturday evening as they visit the New Jersey Devils.
The Panthers halted a season-high five-game skid with Thursday's 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. It also brought a 10-game skid versus Columbus to an end as well as a six-game losing streak at home.
Sean Bergenheim played slump-buster by potting the game-winning goal with 6:52 left to play. He deflected a wrister from Dmitry Kulikov into the net right before taking a stick to the face by the Blue Jackets' Jack Johnson.
"Lucky I got the puck first, then I took the stick on the mouth," Bergenheim said.
Jonathan Huberdeau and rookie Aaron Ekblad both scored in the second period for the Panthers, who got 30 saves from Roberto Luongo. Aleksander Barkov, coming off a three-point game, had an assist to give him 10 points in his past 10 contests.
Florida's recent skid has put it six points behind the New York Rangers for the Eastern Conference's second wild card spot.
The Panthers hope to rebound tonight, but the Devils have won four of the past five encounters overall. That includes a 5-1 victory in Florida back on Oct. 11.
New Jersey has won four in a row at home in this series.
Luongo is 10-14-0 in his career versus the Devils, posting a 2.93 goals against average, .912 save percentage and three shutouts in 24 meetings.
The Devils were aiming for a third victory in a row last night in a matchup with the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, but collapsed late in a 2-1 overtime setback.
Peter Harrold took a late high-sticking penalty in the third period and the Pens cashed in to tie the game with 3:11 on the clock before Simon Despres won it with 2:39 remaining in overtime. He used a screen to beat Devils netminder Cory Schneider.
"No penalty at that time is a good penalty. It gave them life. Couldn't afford to do that," said Harrold.
Steve Bernier scored in the loss and Schneider made a season-high 41 saves in his league-leading 43rd start.
Keith Kinkaid is expected to start in net tonight and has never before faced the Panthers. Kinkaid is 1-3-3 on the season in nine games (5 starts) with a 2.54 goals against average and .913 save percentage.