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Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta lead Devils past Panthers 3-1

NHL.com @NHL

NEWARK, N.J. - Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta each had a goal and an assist in the New Jersey Devils' 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

Defenceman Paul Martin ignited a two-goal spurt in a 62-second span early in the third period, and Scott Clemmensen came within 11:18 of his first shutout in more than four years as the Devils won their second straight game after losing four in a row.

Clemmensen finished with 23 saves.

Michael Frolik, the 10th pick overall in the 2006 draft, spoiled Clemmensen's bid for a third career shutout, scoring his first NHL goal on a power play.

Elias and Gionta combined to break a scoreless tie at 6:47 of the second period on what turned out to be the Devils' only shot on Tomas Vokoun in the stanza.

Dainius Zubrus, who had two assists, started the play by collecting the puck along the sideboards and sending it into the right corner to Gionta. The winger found Elias alone in front and he backhanded the puck into an empty net after deking Vokoun out of position.

A career backup who is now getting a chance to play with Martin Brodeur sidelined for a couple of months, Clemmensen was at his best in the minutes after Elias' goal, stopping David Booth, Nathan Horton and Frolik on excellent scoring chances.

The Devils put the game away in the opening seven minutes of the third period.

Martin got his first of the season at 5:49 after taking a pass from David Clarkson and ripping a shot past Vokoun with John Madden in front.

A little more than a minute later, Gionta and Elias worked a great give-and-go pass for a shot into an empty net. Zubrus started the play, again winning the puck along the boards.

Notes: Panthers D Jassen Cullimore, re-signed about three weeks ago, had to be helped off the ice in the second period after hurting his right leg along the sideboards. ... The Panthers are 3-7-1 in their last 11, which is the same as their road record. ... New Jersey sent forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to Lowell of the AHL earlier in the day. ... Clemmensen's last shutout was on March 26, 2004, against Atlanta. His start Thursday was his 27th since that game.

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