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Measuring Up To New Jersey

Tuesday, 02.17.2009 / 12:44 PM ET / Preview
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Measuring Up To New Jersey
Florida and New Jersey face off for the third time this season. The last time the two met in Sunrise, the Panthers fought back from a 2-0 whole with two-third period goals in a 3-2 overtime loss. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com

SUNRISE – A three-headed snake.

That’s how Panther coach Peter DeBoer described his team’s three opponents this week after Tuesday’s morning skate here at BankAtlantic Center. And it all begins tonight when the Panthers play host to the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Devils.

“You’ve got New Jersey, Chicago (Thursday) and Boston (Saturday),” DeBoer said. “That’s three of the top five teams in the league. And the guys are excited about it.

“It will be a great test for us. It will be a good measuring stick to see where we’re at. On the standings side, it’s important we find a way to pick up points and stay with the pack.”

The Panthers, who have won three of their last four and are 7-3 in their last 10 games, could jump into sixth place in the Eastern Conference this evening with a victory over the Devils, No. 2 in the East with a 37-17-3 record.

The Panthers, 12-4-3 since Jan. 1, are coming off a 4-2 loss Sunday at home against the Capitals. The Panthers have not lost consecutive homes games this season, and have not lost consecutive games since Dec. 29-31.

Tonight’s game marks the first of seven games in 13 days against teams with winning records, including two against the Devils and Bruins and one each against the Rangers, Capitals and Blackhawks.

“It can get overwhelming if you start looking at the teams and the numbers of days and the records of the teams we’re playing,” DeBoer admitted. “We’re responded playing better teams with better games, most desperate games on our end. I feel that again this morning with these guys, that they have to be ready to play or we can get beat badly by some of the teams we’ll face. That’s a good thing. If we can take it one day at a time, I’m comfortable with the way we’re playing and good things will happen.”

The Panthers will meet a Devils team that has exceeded the expectations of some, especially after goalie Martin Brodeur went down Nov. 1 to injury. The Devils have won four games in a row, 13 of 15, and have won seven consecutive road games.

The durable Zach Parise is fifth in the league in points (69) and tied for second in goals (a career-high 34). He’s also a plus-23, and was named the NHL’s first star the week ending Feb. 15 after scoring four goals and adding four assists. Right behind Parise is Patrik Elias, sixth in the league in scoring with 69 points.

DeBoer, who spoke Tuesday morning along the boards with Devils coach and friend Brent Sutter, said tonight’s opponent is “playing a real good game.”

“They’ve got four real good lines, they’ve got size, they’ve got depth, they grind it out. They play the game the right way. I think they’re built for the playoffs.”

While DeBoer called the team’s effort Sunday against the Capitals a seven on a scale of 10 – “We would have liked a little bit more” – he was pleased “we showed up with some energy deficiencies.”

“Early in the year, we (would have lost) that game four or 5-1,” he said. “We didn’t have great legs. We played structurally sound and we found a way to hang around and almost pick up a point.”

NOTES

Brendan Shanahan, who missed Sunday’s game against San Jose due to a bruised foot, is game-to-game as is defenseman Paul Martin (upper body injury)...Brodeur is traveling with the Devils. It’s his first road trip since Nov. 1 when suffering a torn bicep tendon in his left arm…Going into tonight’s game, Michael Frolik has a three-game goal streak, Cory Stillman has a five-game point streak…Nathan Horton has points in three of his last four games…

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 50 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 53 10 27 9 37
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 53 10 25 11 35
V. Trocheck 53 17 16 3 33
R. Smith 53 16 15 10 31
B. Pirri 49 10 13 -5 23
A. Ekblad 49 10 12 20 22
B. Campbell 53 4 16 16 20
N. Bjugstad 38 9 8 -4 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 3 1 .929 2.01

 
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