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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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