Patrik Elias, playing in his 1,000th career ahead goal midway through the third 2.

Elias, who had a goal and two assists, joined Ken Daneyko and teammate Martin Brodeur as the only skaters to reach the 1,000-game mark as career-long Devils.

Since getting selected in the second round of the 1994 draft by the Devils, Elias has gone on to become New Jersey's all-time regular-season leader in just about every single offensive category.

Kovalchuk had two goals for the Devils, who snapped a two-game skid. Adam Henrique and Zach Parise each had a goal and an assist.

Johan Hedberg made 22 saves for the victors.

Mikael Samuelsson and Krystofer Barch lit the lamp for the Panthers, who have lost two in a row and six of eight. Jacob Markstrom turned aside 24-of-27 shots.