A perfect performance from future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur and a three-goal outburst early in the third period spurred the New Jersey Devils to a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers to send their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series back to the Sunshine State on Saturday night tied at two games apiece.
Pulled from Tuesday night's Game 3 after allowing three goals on 12 shots, Brodeur stopped all 26 shots he faced on Thursday, posting his 24th career playoff shutout to pass Patrick Roy for sole possession of first place on the NHL's all-time playoff shutout list.
The Devils opened the scoring at the 6:08 mark of the second period, when Zach Parise deflected a shot from Marek Zidlicky that was initially tipped by Travis Zajac over Scott Clemmensen's glove hand. Two minutes into the third period, forward Steve Bernier took a feed from Stephen Gionta and beat Clemmensen over his glove hand shoulder from the right face-off circle.
New Jersey made it 3-0 less than two minutes later when David Clarkson circled the net, took Panthers defensemen Brian Campbell with him and dished the puck out in front to Zajac, who beat Clemmensen with a slap shot from the slot. Winger Ilya Kovalchuck added a power play goal when his wrist shot from the left circle went over Clemmensen's left shoulder to make it 4-0.
In addition to converting on 2-of-4 power play opportunities of their own, the Devils were outstanding on the penalty kill, as the Panthers went 0-for-6 with the man advantage on Thursday night. Part of the Panthers' ineffectiveness was having to play without defenseman Jason Garrison, the team's power play quarterback who was a late scratch with a lower body injury. The Panthers hope to have Garrison back on Saturday night.