Zajac solves the puzzle in OT

Devils’ center forces Game 7 with a game-winning goal in overtime

Anton Volchenkov and the New Jersey Devils left Marco Sturm and the Florida Panthers on the ice with an overtime victory Tuesday night in Newark, N.J. The Devils’ 3-2 win forces a Game 7. Enlarge photo

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Anton Volchenkov and the New Jersey Devils left Marco Sturm and the Florida Panthers on the ice with an overtime victory Tuesday night in Newark, N.J. The Devils’ 3-2 win forces a Game 7.

NEWARK, N.J. – Travis Zajac scored at 5:39 of overtime, and the New Jersey Devils avoided elimination and sent yet another Eastern Conference first-round series to a seventh game with a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Steve Bernier and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored, and Martin Brodeur made 14 saves for New Jersey, which squandered a two-goal lead and had fans dreading another first-round playoff exit until Zajac scored from the right-hand circle.

The shot beat Scott Clemmensen to the lower corner and set off a mob scene on the ice.

Clemmensen was outstanding, stopping 39 shots in an emergency start for the injured Jose Theodore.

Kris Versteeg and Sean Bergenheim tallied for Florida, which is looking for its first series win since 1996.