EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Michael Rupp and Jeff Friesen each scored twice and Patrik Elias added a goal and two assists Monday night as the New Jersey Devils handed the Florida Panthers their fifth straight loss, 6-2.
Recalled from the minors earlier in the day, Rupp celebrated his 23rd birthday by becoming the 11th player in team history to score in his NHL debut when he beat Roberto Luongo 3:07 into the second period.
After being selected ninth overall by the New York Islanders in 1998, Rupp did not sign a contract, re-entered the draft in 2000 and was chosen by the Devils in the third round. The Cleveland native gave New Jersey a 3-1 advantage with a power-play tally midway through the second, marking the first time a Devil has netted two goals in his first contest.
Friesen scored goals 26 seconds apart later in the period as New Jersey remained unbeaten in its last four games (3
1) and posted its third straight home win.
Martin Brodeur needed to make just 10 saves to give the Devils their second win in four days over the Panthers, who have surrendered 18 goals in the last two contests.