NEWARK, N.J. — Travis Zajac set up two goals, and the New Jersey Devils rode another solid performance by Martin Brodeur to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
Patrik Elias and David Clarkson scored for New Jersey, and Brodeur finished with 17 saves as the Devils won their second straight since the 40-year-old goalie returned to the lineup after being sidelined a month with a pinched nerve in his neck.
The victory might have been costly for New Jersey as star forward Ilya Kovalchuk missed the final 10 minutes after crashing into the boards.
Peter Mueller scored for Florida, which had a two-game winning streak snapped. Scott Clemmensen made 23 saves for the Panthers, who are on a season-high, five-game road trip.
This was the first meeting between the teams since the Devils eliminated the Panthers in double overtime in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series last season.
There was some chippiness at the end of the game when Scottie Upshall hit Devils captain Bryce Salvador behind the net after the final buzzer.
New Jersey’s Adam Henrique, who scored the series winner last year, exchanged shoves with Tomas Fleischmann before order was restored.
After being held to two shots in the first period, the Devils got two goals in the second. Zajac took advantage of Panthers turnovers in center ice to set up both goals.
The first mistake came early in the period. Filip Kuba banked the puck off the boards to center ice, but one of his teammates inadvertently nudged it back toward the Florida blue line. Zajac gathered the puck at the right point, skated into the zone, and sent a cross-ice pass to Elias, who came down the middle for a redirection through Clemmensen’s pads at 1:24.
It was Elias’ 10th goal, the 15th straight season he has scored in double figures.
Another bad clearing pass led to Clarkson’s team-high 12th goal, but only his second in 18 games.
Vanek scores 2 in Sabres’ win over Canadiens
Sabres 2, Canadiens 1
MONTREAL - Thomas Vanek scored two goals to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a win over the Montreal Canadiens.
It was the Sabres’ (13-15-4) third straight win in a run that began with an overtime victory in Montreal on Tuesday. Ryan Miller stopped 39 shots in this one for Buffalo.
Michael Ryder scored the lone goal for Montreal (20-6-5), and Carey Price made 16 saves.
The Sabres broke the scoreless deadlock midway through the second period during a 5-on-3 power play. With Mike Blunden and P.K. Subban in the box, the Sabres tried to find a shooting lane. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff found one at 10:25, firing a shot from the point that deflected in off Vanek for his 15th of the season.
Canucks 1, Kings 0
LOS ANGELES — Cory Schneider made 20 saves en route to his sixth NHL shutout, Mason Raymond scored in the first period, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Los Angeles Kings for their third straight victory.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, coming off a 2-0 home loss to Dallas on Thursday in which they had 40 shots, were shut out for the third time this season. It is the first time they have been blanked in consecutive games since Feb. 16-18, 2012.
Schneider has played the last three games for the Canucks, facing 88 shots and allowing only three goals. His other shutout this season was on Jan. 26 at Anaheim.
The Canucks, who maintained their share of the Northwest Division lead with Minnesota, scored the only goal at 11:06 of the first period.
Wild 2, Sharks 0
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Niklas Backstrom made 33 saves for his first shutout of the season, and Ryan Suter had two more assists, leading Minnesota past San Jose for the Wild’s season-high fifth straight victory.
Zach Parise and Jared Spurgeon scored for Minnesota. The Wild are 14-5-1 in their last 20 games, and have won by at least two goals in each victory in the streak.
Backstrom swatted aside Andrew Desjardins’ penalty shot barely 3 minutes into the game. The goalie is 13-3-1 in his last 17 games, giving up two goals or fewer in 13 of those turns.
Antti Niemi made several tough stops among his 22 saves for the Sharks,
The Sharks won their first seven games, but since then they have been unable to stay in a groove. They fell to 2-5-2 in their last nine.
Senators 5, Lightning 3
OTTAWA — Jakob Silfverberg, Eric Gryba, Guillaume Latendresse and Daniel Alfredsson scored in a 7:01 span in the first period, and Ottawa held off Tampa Bay.
Alfredsson also had an empty-net goal in the final minute. Robin Lehner made 29 saves, and Marc Methot, who missed the last game because of a knee injury, and Kyle Turris each had two assists.
Tyler Johnson scored twice in the third period for Tampa Bay, and Teddy Purcell made it 4-3 with 1:59 left.
Mathieu Garon was yanked from the Tampa Bay net in the first period after allowing three goals on the first 11 shots. Cedrick Desjardins was strong in relief, making 19 saves.
Maple Leafs 3, Bruins 2
TORONTO -- Nazem Kadri scored in the first period, and Frazer McLaren added a timely goal in the third as the Toronto Maple Leafs ended an eight-game losing streak to the Bruins.
The Bruins tried to rally from a 3-0 hole in the third period, throwing everything they had at Toronto in the final minutes. The teams will meet again on Monday in Boston.
Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference, who scored after the goalie was pulled, had goals for the Bruins. Boston held a 33-13 edge in shots.
Mikhail Grabovski also scored for Toronto (17-12-3), which did a lot with a little offense in a game in which both teams misfired. The Maple Leafs had four shots in the first period, five in the second, and four in the third but managed to score a goal in each frame.
Blues activate Oshie
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues activated forward T.J. Oshie from the injured list in time for him to play Saturday night at Edmonton.
The Blues cleared roster space on Friday, trading forward Matt D’Agostini to New Jersey for a conditional draft pick.
The 26-year-old Oshie, who was out with an upper body injury, has five goals and 12 assists in 26 games.