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Elias, Gionta guide Devils to win over Panthers

Nov 21, 2008 - 5:12 AM By Daren Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Devils are starting to get contributions from a couple of key players.

Patrik Elias scored on New Jersey's only shot of the second period and set up Brian Gionta's second goal in as many games as the Devils on Thursday shut down the Florida Panthers, 3-1, for their second straight win following a four-game slide.

New Jersey still is without several injured regulars, including goaltender Martin Brodeur and centers Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik. But Elias has come to life with four goals and two assists in his last three games, and Gionta has tallied in consecutive contests for the first time since March.

Defenseman Paul Martin scored the other goal, Dainius Zubrus notched a pair of assists and Scott Clemmensen stopped 23 shots as the Devils won for the sixth time in their last seven home meetings with the Panthers.

"Clemmer played great. If he hadn't played so well, we definitely wouldn't have had a win, that's for sure," New Jersey's John Madden said. "We weren't sharp in our own zone, we had a lot of breakdowns. ... Clemmer was on his game, and that was the difference."

Drafted 10th overall in 2006, Michael Frolik netted his first career goal for the Panthers, who had won three of four overall and two straight on the road.

Elias snapped a scoreless deadlock 6:47 into the second period. Gionta got a feed from Zubrus along the right wing boards and passed in front to Elias, who shifted to his backhand before beating goaltender - and good friend - Tomas Vokoun to extend his goal-scoring streak to three games.

"Zubie just controlled the puck and was patient with it," Elias said. "He made a nice play to Gio there, and Gio saw me coming to the net. I knew that Tomas was coming with his momentum across and I just put it in."

Martin and Gionta struck in a 61-second span of the third to extend the Devils' lead to 3-0.

Martin, playing his third game since missing five in a row with upper body soreness, notched his first goal in 34 games. He faked a slap shot, skated around a diving David Booth, then wristed the puck over Vokoun's right shoulder from the high slot at 5:49 for his first tally since February 9.

"I just went to take a shot and the defender went down, so I came across in the middle," Martin said. "Johnny Madden was in front and I took a shot that I don't think the goalie saw. We had a great screen on him."

Off a turnover by Booth, Elias skated through the left faceoff circle and flicked a pass to Gionta, who steered the puck past Vokoun at 6:51 for his fourth goal of the season.

"Unbelievable pass. It was just a tap-in," Gionta said. "(Elias) gives me the empty net. He made a great play."

Frolik, denied on a spectacular save by Clemmensen late in the second period, finally got his first NHL goal on a power play less than two minutes later. He ripped a blast from just below the right point that beat Clemmensen to the stick side at 8:42, spoiling the netminder's shutout bid.

"It was good to score a goal, but the team loses," Frolik said. "So it's too bad I can't help the team to win."

The 20-year-old Czech looked like he would lift Florida into a 1-1 tie with 3:36 to go in the second, when he got to the rebound of Rostislav Olesz's shot. But Clemmensen lunged across the net to get his blocker on Frolik's one-timer.

"I thought (Olesz) was going to come around and shoot it, but he made a nice look to the back-door guy coming to my right," Clemmensen said. "So I had to bail myself out a little bit and kind of lunge a little after the puck. I ended up getting a piece of it."

"I got a big chance, almost an open net," Frolik said. "I just came in the (locker) room and just said, 'Oh my God, it's unbelievable, how could I miss that?' It was a lucky save."

The save came near the end of a period in which the Devils were outshot, 10-1.

"What do you say? What do you say after a period like that?" Panthers coach Peter DeBoer asked. "You've got to persevere. You've got to stick to the game plan, you've got to keep going.

"Give New Jersey credit, they capitalized on the opportunities we gave them tonight. We held them to 19 shots. If you told me before the game we're going to come in here and hold them to under 20 shots, I'd have liked our chances."

As for Clemmensen, he is just trying to make the most of his chance to be the Devils' No. 1 goalie until Brodeur returns.

"I"ve played games in this league before, but they've been spread out and kind of sporadic," Clemmensen said. "When you only play once in a while, you try to do everything so perfect. I know I have a little bit of an opportunity here and I want to just go for it.

"The more I play, the more comfortable I feel. The more confident you are, everything comes together a little more."






  • 15
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Panthers 1, Devils 3  FinalNov 20 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0 1 1
    NEW JERSEY 0 1 2 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 8 (BRIAN GIONTA, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 6:47
    3RD PRD: NJD - PAUL MARTIN 1 (DAVID CLARKSON, JOHN MADDEN) 5:49
    NJD - BRIAN GIONTA 4 (PATRIK ELIAS, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 6:51
    FLA - (PP) MICHAEL FROLIK

    Nov 20 9:24 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    NEW JERSEY 3
    3RD PRD: FLA - (PP) MICHAEL FROLIK 1 (JAY BOUWMEESTER, BRYAN MCCABE)
    8:42

    Panthers 1, Devils 3  3rd - 11:18Nov 20 9:04 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    NEW JERSEY 3
    3RD PRD: NJD - BRIAN GIONTA 4 (PATRIK ELIAS, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 6:51

    Panthers 0, Devils 3  3rd - 13:09Nov 20 8:59 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    NEW JERSEY 2
    3RD PRD: NJD - PAUL MARTIN 1 (DAVID CLARKSON, JOHN MADDEN) 5:49

    Panthers 0, Devils 2  3rd - 14:11Nov 20 8:58 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0 0
    NEW JERSEY 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 8 (BRIAN GIONTA, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 6:47
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 5 10 15
    NJD 12 1 13
    GOALIES: FLA - TO

    Nov 20 8:31 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    NEW JERSEY 1
    2ND PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 8 (BRIAN GIONTA, DAINIUS ZUBRUS) 6:47

    Panthers 0, Devils 1  2nd - 13:13Nov 20 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0
    NEW JERSEY 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 5 5
    NJD 12 12
    GOALIES: FLA - TOMAS VOKOUN
    NJD - SCOTT CLEMMENSEN

    Nov 20 7:42 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Silversword55 Added 5 roots

    Panthers 0, Devils 0  1st - 16:09Nov 20 7:16 PM