The New Jersey Devils are having enough trouble scoring without losing one of their best goal-producers.
They faced that unpleasant prospect when Dave Andreychuk, who has 521 career goals, was injured during the Devils' 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
Andreychuk limped off the ice with a knee injury in the closing minutes after scoring two power-play goals. Andreychuk crumpled after a collision with Florida defenseman Ed Jovanovski along the end boards with 3:47 remaining. He was helped off the ice, clearly favoring the right leg.
The preliminary diagnosis was a knee bruise. Andreychuk, who wore a knee brace, was hopeful there was no major damage.
"I didn't hear a pop or anything like that," Andreychuk said. "You're more scared than anything else."
Andreychuk was uncertain how many games, if any, he would miss pending addition medical exams on Sunday.
"We were both going for the puck," said Andreychuk, recalling the play. "He fell on it. We were both trying to get the puck and we both went down. My leg wound up underneath."
The pair of goals from Andreychuk were a welcome development for a Devils team that has scored only 17 in nine games.
"He was really on tonight," said Brian Rolston, who assisted on Andreychuk's first goal. "Around the net he's still got some of the best hands I've ever seen."
Denis Pederson also scored for the Devils, who have won four of their last five after starting the season 1-3-0. Chris Terreri, who has won both starts as the backup to Martin Brodeur, made 16 saves.
Ray Whitney scored for the Panthers, who found goals much harder to come by than in their 7-3 win over the Blackhawks on Friday night in Chicago. They were a tired team following a late-night arrival, according to coach Terry Murray.
"We had a tough day yesterday, getting in when we did," Murray said. "We are not going to use that as an excuse. It's part of the scheduling. Getting into the hotel at 4 o'clock is pretty demanding. I wish the guy who did the scheduling would travel with a team sometime to experience it for himself."
Pederson scored the only goal of the opening period at 10:50 as he deflected Ken Daneyko's shot from the left point past goaltender Kirk McLean.
In the second, Whitney tied the score at 8:34 when he scored on a rebound of Mark Parrish's shot.
Andreychuk put New Jersey back in front at 2-1 at 11:49. Rolston unloaded a hard slap shot from the right point that McLean kicked into the slot. Andreychuk hammered the rebound past McLean's glove.
Andreychuk scored again at 9:41 of the third to increase the Devils' lead to 3-1. He took a pass from Lyle Odelein and rifled a shot from the left circle over McLean's shoulder.
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