Kovalchuk's tally early in the first period broke a scoreless tie and Arnott scored with 2 seconds left in the frame for 2-0 lead, later adding an empty-netter for New Jersey, which extended its longest winning streak of the season to four games.
Shawn Matthias and Marty Reasoner tallied for the Panthers, who dropped their fourth straight.
Scott Clemmensen started in net and was pulled after a first period in which he allowed two goals on eight shots. Jacob Markstrom played the rest of way, yielding a pair of markers on 14 shots.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]