Devils edge Panthers
Newark, NJ – David Clarkson's second-period marker proved to be the difference, as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Florida Panthers, 2-1, on Saturday at Prudential Center.
Patrik Elias also lit the lamp, while Travis Zajac assisted on both New Jersey goals to help the Devils register their second straight victory.
Martin Brodeur stopped 17-of-18 shots to notch his 666th career victory.
Peter Mueller netted the lone Florida goal, while Scott Clemmensen gave up both goals on 25 shots for the Panthers, who saw their two-game win streak come to an end.
"It's tough to win on the road," Clemmensen admitted. "We played a pretty good hockey game, but it was tough to lose."
After managing just two shots in a scoreless first frame, New Jersey broke through on its first shot of the second, as Zajac skated to the right dot before sliding a quick pass to the slot for a cutting Elias, who re-directed the puck through the five hole of Clemmensen to give the Devils a 1-0 lead just 1:24 into the stanza.
New Jersey doubled its cushion with just under nine minutes left in the second on a nice individual effort from Clarkson, as he flipped a wrister from the right circle that Clemmensen stopped, but the New Jersey winger followed his shot and pounded home the rebound in front to make it 2-0 at 11:03.
"The rebound just kind of sat in that part of the pad where it bends and I just kept digging," Clarkson said of his goal. "It was just one of those plays where I was just digging at the puck."
Clarkson's marker would loom large, as Florida took advantage of a New Jersey turnover in the final minute of the frame to trim the margin in half.
Brodeur went to play the puck behind his net, but fanned on a clearing attempt and Tomas Fleischmann corralled the disc before sliding a pass in front for Mueller, who tapped the puck into the empty net with 9.8 ticks on the clock.
It was as close as Florida would get, however, as the Panthers committed a pair of penalties -- including a five-minute major -- in the final frame to hamper their chances of a comeback.
New Jersey forward Ilya Kovalchuk lost an edge near the Florida goal line and slid head first into the boards near the midpoint of the third. He skated to the bench doubled over in pain and did not return ... New Jersey improved to 10-5-2 at home this season, while Florida fell to 5-9-1 on the road ... Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play.