NHL Game Summary - Florida at New Jersey
(Saturday, February 28th)
Final Score: New Jersey 7, Florida 2
Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Zach Parise scored twice and added an assist as the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Devils hammered the Florida Panthers, 7-2, at the Prudential Center.
Brendan Shanahan, Brian Rolston and David Clarkson each added a goal and a helper for New Jersey, which has won six straight games on home ice and seven of nine overall. The Devils now sit seven points ahead of Philadelphia atop the Atlantic.
Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus also lit the lamp for New Jersey, which claimed its 12th consecutive 40-win regular season.
Martin Brodeur, who posted his 99th career shutout in the Devils' 4-0 win over Atlanta on Thursday, turned aside 15-of-17 shots. The veteran netminder was making only his second start since returning from a near four-month layoff after suffering a torn distal biceps muscle in his left elbow.
"That's how you want to be going into the playoffs and that's playing good defensively," Brodeur said. "Our coach wants us to play better in our own zone and that will help us play better offensively."
Ville Peltonen and Bryan McCabe accounted for the Panthers goals. Florida, coming off a 2-1 win against the Rangers on Thursday, dropped to 1-2 on a five-game road trip that continues Sunday in Washington before closing on Tuesday in Atlanta.
Craig Anderson made 39 saves in defeat.
Florida starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun (ear infection), was the backup for the contest. Left wing Cory Stillman (foot) and defenseman Nick Boynton (disciplinary reasons) also were out of the lineup.
Parise opened the scoring 1:18 into the contest, when he followed up his own wrist shot and tucked the puck through the pads of Anderson to give the Devils the quick lead.
Parise then netted his 38th goal of the season with 3:07 left in the period. With the Panthers in the middle of a line change, the young left winger picked the puck up near center ice, skated between two defenders and ripped a wrister top shelf to stretch the New Jersey lead to 2-0.
Shanahan gave the hosts a commanding three-goal cushion at 3:51 of the second when the veteran put home a rebound off a Clarkson breakaway attempt.
Things only got worse for Florida as the Devils struck for two goals 24 seconds apart in the late stages of the stanza.
First it was Zajac tallying on the power play from in close on a nice backhand pass from Parise from behind the net with 3:40 left. Then Rolston added a rebound goal to make it a 5-0 game.
The Panthers were able to break the shutout when Peltonen beat a screened Brodeur from in close with 1:30 to go in the period. However, Clarkson lit the lamp a little over a minute later to put New Jersey up 6-1 heading into the intermission.
In the third, McCabe's blast from the point made it a 6-2 game with 5:13 left. Zubrus closed out the scoring and put the Devils back up by five with 2:39 remaining.
"We are a team that has to work for everything we get and when we are off a little bit we get beat, especially playing against very good teams," Florida head coach Peter DeBoer said. "We need to scratch this out and move on. That's what we have to do."
New Jersey will host Philadelphia on Sunday...The Devils won three of the four meetings versus Florida this season...The Panthers fell to 14-15-3 as the road team this year. The Devils improved to 21-10-1 at home...Peltonen registered his 50th career goal.
02/28 16:56:43 ET