NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, April 20th
(All times Eastern)
Florida Panthers (13-24-6) at New Jersey Devils (16-17-10), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Having finally halted a 10-game losing streak that more
than likely ended New Jersey's chances at a playoff spot, the Devils take aim
at a second straight victory on Saturday afternoon in a home meeting with the
Sitting seventh overall in the Eastern Conference on March 24, the Devils
followed with a 0-6-4 rut and now sit 11th in the conference following
Thursday's 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. New Jersey is eight
points behind the New York Rangers for the eighth spot in the conference with
five games to play. Two of those games are against the Rangers, including
Sunday's showdown in New York. A regulation loss on Saturday would end New
Jersey's playoff chances.
The Devils were coming off consecutive 2-0 defeats prior to Thursday's win and
did not score in those games despite a combined 64-23 shot advantage. Things
finally went their way versus the Flyers, getting goals from Ryan Carter, Matt
D'Agostini and Adam Henrique while holding a 31-23 shot advantage.
Martin Brodeur made sure things held up by stopping all 23 shots fired his way
to notch his 121st career shutout and second of the season. He also finally
logged the 667th victory of his career.
"It seems like it's been a long time so I'm glad for the guys," said New
Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer. "That's the kind of effort we've been putting
out for a while now, but didn't get rewarded. We were sitting at 1-0 and the
thought begin to creep into your mind, here we go again. We found a way in the
third and the guys deserved the win."
New Jersey won its first game since a 2-1 home decision over the Florida
Panthers on March 23. Winger Ilya Kovalchuk suffered a shoulder injury in that
victory and has not played since. However, Kovalchuk, who has 10 goals and 17
assists for 27 points in 32 games, will return today after missing 11 games
Captain Bryce Salvador also missed the Flyers game due to a bruised right
wrist, while fellow blueliner Anton Volchenkov served the third of a four-
game suspension for an illegal hit versus Boston on April 10.
The Devils will play the Panthers for the third and final time this season and
dropped a 3-2 overtime decision in Florida on March 30. The Panthers have lost
six of their last nine in New Jersey.
The Panthers are sitting last in the overall NHL standings with 32 points and
have been outscored 21-6 over a current four-game slide. They were routed 6-1
by the Rangers on Thursday.
Jonathan Huberdeau had Florida's lone goal, the rookie's 14th of the season
and 28th point. Scott Clemmensen yielded all six goals and made 24 saves.
"The game finished ugly," stated Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen. "That's the
nature of it. [Teams fighting for the playoffs] are what we're going to see
from here on out. They are Cookie Monsters out there, hungry at the end of the
With a banged up blue line that includes injuries to Filip Kuba, Erik
Gudbranson and Tyson Strachan, Alex Petrovic made his NHL debut for the
Panthers in the loss.
Florida has dropped the first two of a four-game swing that is scheduled to
end on Sunday in Boston.
04/20 11:37:58 ET