Devils crush the Panthers, 7-2

February 28, 2009 12:38:03 PM PST
Zach Parise had two goals and an assist and the New Jersey Devils made life easy for Martin Brodeur in his second game back from elbow surgery, routing the Florida Panthers 7-2 on Saturday afternoon. Brodeur, who had a shutout on Thursday in returning from a 50-game layoff, had 15 saves to win his 546th career game and move within five of tying Patrick Roy's NHL record for wins by a goaltender.

The four-time Vezina Trophy winner as hockey's best goalie extended his shutout streak to almost five periods before Ville Peltonen scored late in the second period.

However, the Devils had a 5-0 lead then in a game in which they peppered Panthers goaltender Craig Anderson with 46 shots.

Brendan Shanahan, Travis Zajac, Brian Rolston, David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus also scored for the Devils, who got a little payback for a 4-0 loss in Florida on Feb. 17.

The win was the seventh in nine games for New Jersey, which opened a seven-point lead over second-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division with 20 games left in the regular season. The Flyers, who are here Sunday, have played two fewer games.

While Brodeur got another standing ovation to start the game, Parise had the crowd shouting "M-V-P!, M-V-P!" by the end of the opening period with his 37th and 38th goals - second in the league to Washington's Alex Ovechkin.

Parise got his first at 1:18, taking an excellent cross-ice pass from Jamie Langenbrunner for a 1-on-1 against Anderson. The goaltender stopped the initial shot but Parise tapped his own rebound between his pads.

Parise got his second after a giveaway by Florida's Nathan Horton near his own blue line. Parise collected the puck, blew past defenseman Keith Ballard and beat Anderson with a shot to the top corner.

New Jersey broke the game open with a four-goal second period in which Rolston and Zajac scored 24 seconds apart.

Shanahan stretched the lead to 3-0 early in the second after Anderson stopped a breakaway by Clarkson. With a delayed penalty signaled, Shanahan swooped in and put the rebound into a wide-open net.

Zajac got his 18th of the season by tapping a no-look pass by Parise into an empty net with the Devils on a power play. Rolston almost immediately pushed the lead to 5-0 when he put a rebound into an open net after Brian Gionta was stopped on a breakaway.

Peltonen kept Brodeur from his 100th career regular-season shutout with a shot from the right circle that found the upper corner of the net.

Clarkson scored in close late in the second period and Zubrus got one late in the third period. Bryan McCabe also tallied for Florida in the third period.

Notes: Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun missed his third straight game with an inner ear problem. ... Florida sent D Nick Boynton home for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. ... Panthers LW Cory Stillman missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. ...

LW Mike Rupp and D Jay Leach were the Devils' healthy scratches.


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