The New Jersey Devils blanked the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, scoring three goals in the third period on their way to a 4-0 victory. The win tied the opening series of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at two games apiece as the teams head back to Florida for Game 5.
Steve Bernier and Travis Zajac both scored approximately a minute-and-a-half apart to put the Devils up 3-0 early in the final period. On the first goal, Stephen Gionta dumped the puck off to Bernier and simultaneously screened Scott Clemmensen for an easy wrister. On the second, David Clarkson wrapped around the back of the net to draw the defense and set Zajac up for a head-on one timer between the tops of the circles.
Ilya Kovalchuk put the puck in the top right shelf past Clemmensen on a powerplay with 11:28 to play to cap the scoring for the Devils. The Devils initially got on the board in the second period on a tip-in by Zach Parise, set up by a deflection caused by a rocket slapshot from Marek Zidlicky.
Martin Brodeur was spectacular in the shutout, turning back all 26 shots faced two nights after being benched in Game 3. Clemmensen was less-so starting in place of the struggling Jose Theodore. It remains to be seen who starts Game 5 for Florida.
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