The Matchup: The Florida Panthers (31-36-12) face off against the New Jersey Devils (46-26-7). This is the final game of the series for both teams. The Devils lead the season series, 2-1-0.
The Last Panthers Game: The Panthers lost to Ottawa Senators, 5-2, Tuesday night. Mike Fisher scored twice to lead the Senators to victory. Tomas Vokoun stopped 23 shots in the loss. It marked the seventh game in a row that the Panthers failed to score two or more goals.
The Last Devils Game: The Devils blanked the Atlanta Thrashers, 3-0, Tuesday night. Dean McAmmond, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac all tallied goals for New Jersey. Martin Brodeur made 19 saves for his second consecutive shutout and 600th win of his career.
The Last Panthers – Devils Game: The Devils defeated the Panthers, 2-0, on January 20th. Zajac broke a scoreless tie with his goal at 18:30 of the second period, and McAmmond added an empty-netter in the final second of regulation. Brodeur stopped 20 shots for the victory.
Tonight’s Matchup: The Devils are coming into tonight’s matchup having played two solid, 60-minute games. The team seems to be rounding into form, and the player leading the charge is Brodeur. The Devils’ goalie has been sharp as of late, bring a 125:26 shutout streak into tonight’s game. As Brodeur’s play has rose, so has the play of the team around him. The Devils seem to be doing the little things right, like forechecking aggressively and playing solid defensive hockey. And while Devils’ coach Jacques Lemaire believes the team can play better, they’ve been playing really great hockey.
Tonight the Devils take on a team sitting on the other end of the spectrum. The Panthers haven’t looked good all year, and they sit near the bottom of the conference. Ex-Devil Scott Clemmensen, who had a great season for the Devils last year, will probably get the nod tonight in net. But with their recent scoring woes, the goalie may not matter in Florida.
With a win tonight and a regulation loss by the Penguins, the Devils will wrap up the Atlantic Division crown and probably the second seed in the conference. Gametime is 7 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSG Plus or WFAN.