Panthers host Devils for crucial Game 5
(Sports Network) - The Devils and Panthers will continue their deadlocked Eastern Conference quarterfinal series tonight, as Florida hosts New Jersey in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.
After losing two straight to Florida, the sixth-seeded Devils tied this series at two games apiece on Thursday thanks to an excellent performance by goaltender Martin Brodeur.
Brodeur, who was pulled from New Jersey's loss in Game 3, stopped all 26 shots he faced in Game 4 to claim another NHL record. The 39-year-old netminder notched his 24th career playoff whitewash, passing Hall of Famer Patrick Roy, who retired in 2003.
"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."
The Devils also scored three times in the third period with Steve Bernier, Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk lighting the lamp in the first half of the final stanza for New Jersey.
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. Brodeur also 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.
For Florida, Scott Clemmensen's first career playoff start didn't go as planned. The ex-Devil and former backup to Brodeur took the loss after allowing all four goals on 27 shots for the Panthers.
"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."
Florida, which is in the playoffs for the first time since 2000, 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 East finals.
Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen could go back to Jose Theodore as the starting goaltender tonight. Theodore started the first three games, but was pulled in the first period of Game 3.
On the injury front, Florida defenseman Jason Garrison sat out Game 4 with a lower-body injury and is questionable for tonight.
This is only the second playoff series between the Devils and Panthers, following New Jersey's sweep in the opening round of the 2000 playoffs.
Game 6 of this series is scheduled for Tuesday in New Jersey.
04/21 10:57:26 ET