New Jersey 4, Florida 1

Preview | Box Score | Recap

SUNRISE, FLORIDA (TICKER) —The Office Depot Center may not be a friendly place for the Florida Panthers, but it’s been more than hospitable for New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.

Brodeur stopped 19 shots and the Devils got points from 11 different players in a 4-1 victory over the Panthers, who have lost a team-record seven straight home games.

Brodeur surrendered a power-play goal to Marcus Nilson in the third period but nothing else in improving to 9-0-1 in his last 10 trips to Florida.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a matter of owning them, it’s just coming up with good play on a frequent basis,” Brodeur said. “I like to play here, and that may be a part of it, but they’re a good team and they force you to stay alert. We have great discipline, and that helps, too.”

New Jersey used a balanced attack, took just one penalty and got a goal from each of its forward lines to remain four points ahead of second-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division.

“It’s kind of hard to find a flaw when you beat a team, 4-1,” said Devils coach Pat Burns, whose team has won four straight. “I don’t know what we would expect for an all-out effort. I thought it was a pretty good effort from the four lines and all the defensive players.”

The Panthers broke the record for home futility set from February 25-March 23, 1998. They are 0-10-2-1 at the Office Depot Center since a 3-2 overtime win against Carolina on January 25.

Asked if his team might be playing out the string, Florida coach Mike Keenan said, “I’d say a little bit of that might have crept into the game tonight. … And maybe it was just too difficult for them back-to-back.

“I thought they played pretty hard against Ottawa, actually. And they were facing another team tonight that’s as difficult to play and as experienced as the team they just played. That’s the response you’re going to get when you’ve got the youngest team in the league.”

The Devils’ fourth line got the scoring started 14:12 into the first period when Jiri Bicek leaned into a slap shot one stride over the blue line. The puck tipped the stick of Panthers defenseman Andreas Lilja and eluded goaltender Jani Hurme.

“Nice to contribute and especially to score the first goal and set the tempo for the game,” said Bicek, who had not scored since February 23. “I got a good look just inside the blue line and managed to go up top with it.”

The second line doubled New Jersey’s lead at 5:27 of the second when Brian Gionta warded off Lilja while skating through the right faceoff circle and put a wrist shot between Hurme’s pads for his 12th goal.

“I just stayed with the puck and caught a break. Got that little extra jump on the defender and it paid off,” Gionta said.

“Those first two goals, I just had to stop those pucks,” said Hurme who made 33 saves. “I have to get my goals-allowed down and play etter if I want to get anywhere in this league.”

Less than five minutes after Nilson got the Panthers on the board, the checking line restored the Devils’ two-goal lead. Turner Stevenson pushed the puck to Jay Pandolfo, who beat Hurme with a one-time blast from the top of the slot.

New Jersey’s No. 1 line finally got on the board with 7:09 remaining. Defenseman Colin White whipped a pass of the right corner that Joe Nieuwendyk jammed into a half-empty net for his 16th goal.

“The team is just playing really well right now and tightening up for the playoffs,” Pandolfo said.

Related Articles


Goalie Team Shot Save
Martin Brodeur StL 20 19