Panthers 4, Devils 0
Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 1:51 AM
Clemmensen was tested with 28 shots on Tuesday.
Tomas Vokoun made 36 saves for his fifth shutout of the season, and the Devils stumbled in a 4-0 loss to the Panthers Tuesday in Florida.
Stephen Weiss and Richard Zednik each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who were leading 1-0 when Zednik and Nathan Horton scored in a 2:38 span to blow the game open in the second period.
Cory Stillman added a goal, and David Booth and Michael Frolik each had two assists as Florida won for the eighth time in its last 11 games.
New Jersey outshot Florida 36-28, but saw its winning streak come to an end at seven games on the road, and four overall. The Devils were blanked for the fifth time this season, and first time on the road.
"I don't think we had one of our better games, as far as our sharpness was concerned," said head coach Brent Sutter, whose club lost for only the third time in its last 16 contests. "We were sloppy in different areas. Their goaltender was sharp when he had to be. In the offensive zone we just weren't sharp, and defensively our awareness around our net wasn't great. That was the difference."
Sutter rolled the dice with under six minutes to go in regulation, after Bryan McCabe had been whistled for interfering with Patrik Elias
at 14:06. He pulled Scott Clemmensen for a 6-on-4 advantage on the power play, but the Devils came away empty-handed.
Clemmensen registered 24 saves and suffered his first loss in four starts. Since posting back-to-back shutouts in appearances versus the Rangers and Bruins, Clemmensen has allowed nine goals in two games.
"I don't think it was a let down," the Devils' netminder said. "It was just one of those games where you're kind of going up hill against the wind. We had to fight against some bad luck and we weren't as sharp as we wanted to be, especially in our own end."
was credited with a season-high 10 shots on goal after recording eight in the Devils' 6-5 win over San Jose on Sunday. The power play which converted on three chances in the third period against the Sharks went 0-for-5 on Tuesday.
The Devils' (37-18-3, 77 pts.) road trip continues Thursday with a visit to Tampa, and concludes Saturday at Long Island. Jersey's Team maintains its eight-point lead over Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic Division, but ceded two points to Boston in the race for the Eastern Conference top spot. The Bruins routed the Hurricanes 5-1 in Raleigh.
The surging Panthers (29-20-8, 66 pts.) moved into a tie for fifth in the East with the Canadiens and Rangers.
On the heels of two big wins against the conference leaders that closed out a 4-1 homestand, the Devils' couldn't match the play of a Panthers squad battling for playoff contention.
"They were a team that probably to some degree was measuring themselves up against us and we didn't play like we needed to play to have success here tonight," Sutter said. "Emotionally we weren't at the level we have been for the last week."
Weiss put Florida ahead with the lone goal of the opening period. He buried the rebound of McCabe's point shot from the slot at 4:18.
Twice New Jersey came close to tying the contest with under six minutes to go in the first.
Parise's deflection of Johnny Oduya's point shot hit the left post with 5:41 left. Later, Elias was robbed by Vokoun on a 6-on-5 during a delayed penalty call.
Parise shoveled the puck cross-crease to Elias at the left of the net, but Vokoun came across with the right pad with 1:56 remaining in the period to protect his 30th career shutout.
Ahead 1-0 after 20 minutes, Zednik and Horton put the game out of reach.
Zednik got his 12th of the season with Bryce Salvador
in the box for hooking. Frolik ripped a shot from the top of the right circle that Clemmensen stopped. Booth worked the rebound to Zednik, who converted into the open right side at 11:27.
Zednik staked the Panthers to a three-goal lead with a backhand flip from behind the net to Horton in front. Horton beat Clemmensen from the slot with his 17th at 14:05.
Stillman's 12th made it 4-0 with 2:54 left in regulation. Booth drew Clemmensen out of position when he carried around the net, then centered to Stillman in front of the vacated cage at 17:06.
Paul Martin (upper body soreness) and Brendan Shanahan (sore foot) were both out for a second straight game. Jay Leach and Jay Pandolfo replaced them in the lineup... The Devils were last shutout on Jan. 8 in a 4-0 loss to Atlanta at Prudential Center.