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Devils snap back to attention, shut down Panthers to tie series

Apr 20, 2012 - 4:15 AM
Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Martin Brodeur stopped all 26 shots he faced to claim another NHL record, and the hosts scored three times in the third period, as the New Jersey Devils walked away with a 4-0 victory over Florida in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal from Prudential Center.

The 39-year-old netminder notched his 24th career playoff whitewash, passing Hall of Famer Patrick Roy, who retired in 2003.

Steve Bernier, Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk lit the lamp in the first half of the final stanza for the Devils, who evened the best-of-seven set at two games apiece.

"It felt good to play well and get a win and get back in the series," said Brodeur. "I thought we played really well tonight and showed some character. We got good performances from all the guys tonight."

Zach Parise added a second-period marker and Bryce Salvador posted two assists to aid New Jersey's first postseason clean sheet in almost three years.

Scott Clemmensen's first career playoff start didn't go as planned. The former backup to Brodeur took the loss after allowing all four goals on 27 shots for the Panthers, who couldn't sustain the momentum from Tuesday's comeback win which gave them the series edge.

"We knew that they were going to be very hard to beat tonight," said Clemmensen. "When they play solid in all aspects they are tough to beat. You knew Marty (Brodeur) was going to have a bounceback game and limit our chances."

Game 5 shifts back to south Florida on Saturday.

Bernier provided a cushion just after the two-minute mark of the third on a high wrister from the right wing, then Zajac followed with a blast from between the circles off a David Clarkson dish for a 3-0 game 1:33 later.

Kovalchuk effectively wrapped up the game when he was able to unleash one of his trademark wristers, a power-play goal from the left circle at 8:32.

Brodeur made the advantage hold up with nine stops in the final 20 minutes of action.

Clemmensen and Brodeur were equal to 10 shots apiece in the first period.

The Devils snapped a scoreless deadlock at 6:08 of the second period when Zajac chopped a Marek Zidlicky point drive out of the air and Parise bunted it past Clemmensen for a power-play tally.

Game Notes

Brodeur was in goal for the Devils' last playoff shutout win, a 1-0 decision over Carolina on April 23, 2009 in Game 5 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal...The Panthers were last blanked in a playoff game by Mike Richter of the New York Rangers in Game 2 of an Eastern quarterfinal, a 3-0 defeat on April 20, 1997...Florida was last held scoreless in a road postseason contest on May 28, 1996, by Tom Barrasso of the Penguins in a 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh in Game 5 of the Eastern finals...Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison sat with an upper-body injury...Florida, which had gone 6-for-10 on the power play through the first three games, went scoreless in six chances.