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Thursday, April 19, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Devils 4, Panthers 0

By Mike Mazzeo

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: We’ve got ourselves a series.

Martin Brodeur recorded his 24th career playoff shutout, breaking a tie with Patrick Roy for the most in NHL history, and the Devils rolled to a 4-0 victory over the Panthers on Thurday night at Prudential Center, evening their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series at 2-2.

MARTY! MARTY! Brodeur rebounded after being pulled 22:18 into Game 3, stopping all 26 shots he faced in Game 4 for his 101st postseason victory.

The 39-year-old future Hall of Fame goaltender stoned Dmitry Kulikov on a breakaway and Kris Versteeg on a 3-on-2 in the second period to preserve the shutout. He made a glove save to rob Tomas Kopecky on a 2-on-1 in the third with 10:31 left, and the sellout crowd responded with “Marty! Marty!” chants.

He also picked up his 11th career playoff point (one goal, 10 assists) -- a secondary assist -- and now has two assists in the series.

OH CAPTAIN: Zach Parise scored for the second time in two games, deflecting Travis Zajac’s deflection of Marek Zidlicky’s power-play point shot 6:08 into the second period to give the Devils a 1-0 lead.

BREATHING ROOM: Steve Bernier and Zajac scored 93 seconds apart early in the third period to make it 3-0. Bernier went top shelf from the right circle for his first of the playoffs, while Zajac ripped a one-timer from the top of the circles to give the Devils a three-goal cushion.

GOALVALCHUK: Ilya Kovalchuk gave the Devils a 4-0 lead at 8:32 of the third with a power-play snipe from the left circle. It was his second marker of the series. Kovalchuk let out a loud cry after scoring.

ORDER RESTORED: After allowing the Panthers to go 6-for-10 on the power-play in the first three games, the Devils’ record-setting penalty kill held Florida scoreless on the man-advantage. New Jersey had two power-play goals.

It helped that Florida’s power-play quarterback, Jason Garrison, was scratched just minutes before the opening faceoff with a lower-body injury. He’s listed as day to day.

UP NEXT: Game 5, Saturday night at BankAtlantic Center