A Familiar Foe
Wednesday, 11.26.2008 / 12:36 PM / Preview
|The Panthers and Devils battle for the second time in less than a week. New Jersey earned a 3-1 victory over Florida last Thursday. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)|
The Panthers (8-11-1) will meet a Devils team this evening that has won four consecutive games – including a 3-1 victory over the Panthers last week – and are coming off a 7-3 victory Sunday in Tampa Bay.
The Devils (11-7-2, 4-3-1 on the road) were led Sunday by a four-goal performance from Dainius Zubrus. Zach Parise has 13 goals for the Devils and Patrick Elias eight goals and 12 assists. Goalie Scott Clemmensen is riding a three-game winning streak.
“Our game seems to (revolve) around our starts,” said Panther coach Peter DeBoer after Wednesday’s morning skate at the BankAtlantic Center. “If we can dictate the play and forecheck like we did against Carolina - come out and be ready to go and attack early in a game – we seem to have more success. I thought (last week) in New Jersey we waited to see what they were going to do.”
DeBoer stressed the importance of playing a complete game tonight against the Devils.
“Our team’s got to be prepared for 60 minutes,” he added. “(The Devils) hit, they battle. It’s a pretty simple game plan. Get the pucks up along the boards and into the corners and win your battles and get to the net. So we have to show up tonight with a battle mentality that we’re going to get to those dirty areas.
“I think this game comes down to which team is more desperate, which one wants it more. You’ve got two teams who know a lot about each other. I think we play similar styles, we’ve both been hit by some injuries and I think it will come down to the goaltender, who executes and who’s the more desperate group.”
The Panthers will be without Richard Zednik, who injured his left arm in Monday’s victory. Zednik will be out for “weeks, not days,” according to DeBoer.
“I thought he was starting to play the best hockey he’s played,” DeBoer said. “He seemed to have some chemistry with (Michael) Frolik.”
The Panthers did not call up anyone from their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Rochester in wake of Zednik’s injury. The Panthers have 12 forwards on the roster.
The Panthers will have only one healthy scratch tonight, and that will come from the blue line. Depending on whether Nick Boynton (concussion) dresses, the healthy scratch will be a game-time decision.
Defenseman Bryan McCabe enters tonight’s game with eight points (3-5-8) and a plus-4 rating in his last nine games. Left winger Ville Peltonen has a two-game goal scoring streak… Peltonen and David Booth have scored four of the Panthers last five goals… DeBoer added the Panthers will need more from depth players like Peltonen if they’re to be competitive. “Games will be decided whether we get contributions from our depth players up front or our defense,” he said. “Like last game, Peltonen got one, Campbell… tonight it has to be someone else. We’ve got to get three goals at least out of them or you’re not going to have much of an opportunity to win.”… On this day in hockey history (1917)…the National Hockey League was founded...