NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Martin Brodeur bounced back from his shortest postseason performance with a record-setting 24th Stanley Cup playoff shutout, leading the New Jersey Devils to a 4-0 victory over the Florida Panthers Thursday night, tying their first-round series at 2-all.
Brodeur made 26 saves in taking over sole possession of the postseason shutout mark from Patrick Roy. The 39-year-old goaltender also added his second assist of the series, giving him 10 for his career, four behind all-time leader Grant Fuhr.
The effort came two days after Brodeur was lifted after giving up three goals in 22:18 in a 4-3 loss.
Zach Parise, Steve Bernier, Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk scored for New Jersey.
Game 5 of the best-of-7 series will be Saturday in Florida.
Brodeur made at least six outstanding saves in winning his 101st career postseason game, while seemingly benefiting from some early luck when Sean Bergenheim hit a goalpost.
Another difference in this game was the special teams. Florida, which was 6 of 10 on the power play in the first three games, failed to connect on six chances with the extra man, while the Devils converted twice.
Florida had an excuse of sorts. Defenseman Jason Garrison, one of the quarterbacks of the Panthers’ power play, was sidelined with a lower back injury.
Brodeur, however, made his best saves in 5-on-5 situations. He stopped Tomas Fleischmann on a break in in the first period and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov one-on-one in the second with a delayed penalty about to be called on New Jersey.
Brodeur also stopped Kris Versteeg as the trailer on a 3-on-2 latter in the second and his best save might have been a snapping glove on former teammate John Madden in the third period.
Parise scored the only goal the Devils needed on a power play at 6:08 of the second period on a double deflection. Zajac got a piece of Marek Zidlicky point shot and Parise moved it again to get it past Scott Clemmensen.
The Devils blew the game open in the opening 8:32 of the third period.
Bernier scored from the right circle over Clemmensen’s shoulder after taking a pass from Stephen Gionta at 2:02.
Zajac made it a three-goal game from between the circles at 3:35 and Kovalchuk closed out the scoring on a power-play shot from the left circle.
The only drama left was seeing if Brodeur would get the record and he did with the crowd continually chanting “Marty,” Marty,” ”Marty,” down the stretch.
For the first time in the series, somebody didn’t take a three-goal lead in the opening period. In fact, it was scoreless with each of the goaltenders making 10 saves.
Brodeur’s best might have been two against Tomas Fleischmann. The first came in close on a backhander shortly after a Panthers’ power play ended while the second was a pad stop on a shot from the left circle.
Clemmensen’s best was a stop on Zajac after the Devils center intercepted a pass between the circles.
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