NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 23rd
(All times Eastern)
Florida Panthers (9-16-6) at New Jersey Devils (14-11-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Martin Brodeur returned to the crease Thursday for the New
Jersey Devils and immediately began helping the team in ways they couldn't
The Devils hope Brodeur can get them a second straight win when New Jersey
hosts the Florida Panthers in Saturday's battle at Prudential Center.
New Jersey's franchise goaltender was credited with the third goal of his
career and also posted 17 saves to help the Devils earn an important 4-1 win
Brodeur, who had missed the last 13 games due to back soreness, staked New
Jersey to a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal less than four minutes into the
first period. The goaltender didn't actually shoot the puck in but he was the
last New Jersey player to touch it before Jordan Staal scored on his own net.
Brodeur also stopped 17-of-18 shots in the win and lost his shutout bid, and a
shot at the game-winning goal, when Jeff Skinner scored with 8:33 left in
The rare goal came with the Hurricanes shorthanded less than four minutes into
the contest. Skinner raced in on a breakaway and was hooked by New Jersey
defenseman Marek Zidlicky before getting off a shot that Brodeur sticked away
into the right corner. Ellis then left the Carolina net on the delayed penalty
call, but Jordan Staal's feed to the left point missed the mark and banked off
the boards before trickling the length of the ice into the vacated net to give
New Jersey a 1-0 lead at the 3:54 mark.
"It was definitely nice to contribute somehow," Brodeur joked of his goal. "We
haven't gotten many breaks as of late so definitely it was a welcomed one."
Adam Henrique, Peter Harrold and Andrei Loktionov also scored for the Devils,
who snapped a three-game slide and moved two points ahead of Carolina for the
seventh seed in the East. New Jersey was 3-8-2 in Brodeur's absence and the
club is certainly happy to have the future Hall of Famer back for the stretch
Although another goal is highly unlikely, Brodeur will get the start again on
Saturday. The 40-year-old is 37-16-1 with seven ties in 61 career games
against the Panthers.
The Devils, who are 9-5-2 as the host this season, will try to halt a two-game
home losing streak on Saturday.
Florida, meanwhile, is last in the Eastern Conference with just 24 points but
the club has a chance to win three straight on Saturday for the first time
The Panthers had lost six straight (0-5-1) before beginning a five-game road
trip Tuesday with a 4-1 win at Carolina. Florida moved to 2-0 on the swing
with Thursday's 3-1 decision against the New York Rangers.
Jacob Markstrom made 44 saves in a sensational performance between the pipes
on Thursday, leading the way in the victory over the Rangers. Markstrom really
shined in the third period, stopping 17-of-18 shots over the final 20 minutes.
"I felt really good from the start to the finish," said Markstrom. "It was a
good game for us and a good win."
Brian Campbell had a power-play goal in the first period and Scottie Upshall
scored in the second for Florida, with Tomas Kopecky adding an empty-netter
near the end.
For the Panthers, it marked the first time they've won back-to-back outings
since beating Winnipeg and Buffalo on Jan. 31 and Feb. 3, respectively.
Florida, which is 5-8-1 as the road team, will close its current trek with
games against the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Friday's meeting between the Devils and Panthers is the first encounter
between the clubs since New Jersey won Game 7 of last year's opening-round
playoff series in Florida. The Devils earned a double-overtime victory in that
decisive contest before making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals where
they were ousted by Los Angeles in six games.
The Devils have won four of the last seven regular-season games in this
03/23 10:57:27 ET