Florida Panthers Visit New Jersey Devils: Game 41 Preview

The Panthers stayed close for two periods, but the Devils broke out for three in the third to put the game out of reach.

Florida will be visiting the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center tonight in Newark. This is the third of four meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals this season, and the first of two in New Jersey. Florida is 10-8-3 on the road this season, while the Devils are 10-7-1 at home. For Florida, this is the second game of a short two game back-to-back road trip. They lost in overtime last night to the New York Rangers, 3-2. For New Jersey, this is the second game of a two game homestand. They lost on Wednesday to the Boston Bruins, 6-1. They hit the road after tonight's matchup for a four game roadtrip.

The last time the two teams met was December 13, in Sunrise. The Devils won, 3-2 when Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk beat Jose Theodore in the shootout. Elias and Zach Parise scored in regulation for the Devils. Kris Versteeg scored two for the Cats, including a short hander unassisted in the second period for his 15th goal of the season. Jose Theodore saved 32 of 34 in taking the loss.

Devils @ Panthers 12/13/11 (via NHLVideo)

In Florida's last game, the Panthers lost in overtime to the league leading New York Rangers. Marcel Goc scored his third goal of the season and Mikael Samuelsson tallied two assists in their triumphant returns from injury. Mike Santorelli added his years fifth goal for the Panthers. Marian Gaborik scored his 23rd in overtime to seal the victory for the Rangers, as Scott Clemmensen saved 38 of 41 shots.

Marcel Goc goal vs Rangers HD 1/5/12 (via HEATPOSTERIZED)


The Devils lost on Wednesday to the Boston Bruins, 6-1. David Clarkson scored a power play goal for the Devils to take an early 1-0 lead, but the Bruins charged back, as Patrice Bergeron scored two to lead the Bruins, and four other players scored one each.

Bruins @ Devils 01/04/12 (via NHLVideo)


Season Series: 1-0-1

All-Time Series: 24-38-13

Game Time: 7:00 EST

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Standings:

Florida Panthers: 20-12-8, 48 points, first Southeast Division, third Eastern Conference, ninth NHL, on pace for 98 points.

New Jersey Devils: 21-16-2, 44 points, fourth Atlantic Division, ninth Eastern Conference, 19th NHL, on pace for 93 points.

Injuries:

Sean Bergenheim, Jack Skille, Scottie Upshall and Marco Sturm are all still sidelined with various ailments.

Starting Lineups:

Goalies: Jose Theodore (14-8-4) is currently injured and is expected to miss a minimum of two weeks. Jacob Markstrom (2-3-1) has been recalled from San Antonio to fill in while Theodore recovers. Scott Clemmensen (4-1-3) is also available. Clemmensen made last nights start, so look for the Alien to suit up for tonight's showdown with the Devils.

Forwards: After missing several games, Marcel Goc and Mikael Samuelsson finally returned to the lineup last night. In addition, Florida has shored up their roster by signing three-time Stanley Cup Champion John Madden to the team.

1. Fleischmann - Weiss - Versteeg

2. Kopecky - Matthias - Repik

3. Kennedy - Santorelli - Thomas

4. Bradley - Goc - Samuelsson

Defense:

1. Campbell - Garrison

2. Jovanovski - Gudbranson

3. Kulikov - Weaver

Common Thread:

Devils center Ryan Carter played in 19 games over two seasons for the Panthers, scoring two goals and one assist with a plus-two and 28 penalty minutes.

Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen spent five seasons with the Devils, accruing a 32-19-5 record with a .910 save percentage and a 2.54 GAA.
The Panthers brand new forward, John Madden, played 712 games over 10 seasons for New Jersey. He scored 140 goals and 157 assists with a combined plus-35 and 193 penalty minutes for the Devils.

Team Milestones:

Games: Dmitry Kulikov plays in his 180th game tonight, tying Jesse Belanger in 44th. Shawn Matthias plays in his 166th game, moving him past Cory Stillman into 48th.

Goals: Ed Jovanovski's next goal will be his 32nd, which will move him into a tie for 32nd with Richard Zednik. Mike Santorelli's next goal will be number 26 as a Panther, moving him into past with Mike Van Ryn into 44th place all-time.

Assists: Stephen Weiss is tied with Olli Jokinen with 231 all-time assists for the Florida Panther's record. Ed Jovanovski's next assist will give him 61 with the Panthers, passing Dave Lowry into 28th. Dmitry Kulikov's next assist will give him 51 for his career, moving him past Niklas Hagman into 38th place.

Points: One more point for Kulikov will give him 63, moving him past Dave Gagner into 47th place.

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Team Leaders:

Goals:

Kris Versteeg - 17

Tomas Fleischmann - 15

Stephen Weiss, Jason Garrison - 11

Assists:

Brian Campbell - 29

Stephen Weiss - 22

Kris Versteeg - 21

Tomas Fleischmann - 19

Points:

Kris Versteeg - 38

Tomas Fleischmann - 34

Stephen Weiss - 33

Brian Campbell - 32

Plus/Minus:

Stephen Weiss - plus-16

Kris Versteeg - plus-14

Tomas Fleischmann - plus-nine

Jason Garrison - plus-seven

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