NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, January 20th
(All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (21-20-8) at New Jersey Devils (32-14-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers will try to secure their first four-
game winning streak in almost two years when they visit the sliding New Jersey
Devils for tonight's clash at Prudential Center.
The Panthers have tied a season-high with three straight victories, but the
club hasn't posted four wins in a row since a seven-game stretch from March
Meanwhile, the Devils have lost three straight to match a season-worst skid
and Jersey will try to avoid losing four in a row for the first time since a
six-game slide from March 22-April 1 of last year.
The Devils have won four of six and five of the last eight meetings against
Florida, but the clubs have split a pair of encounters so far this year. The
Panthers have dropped eight of their last 10 in New Jersey, but Florida
recorded a 4-2 win when the teams met at the Rock on December 11.
Florida, which is currently outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture
with 50 points, began its current hot streak with last week's home-and-home
sweep of Tampa Bay and then notched a close win over visiting Atlanta on
Tomas Vokoun made 27 stops for his fifth shutout of the season as the Panthers
grabbed a 1-0 win over the Thrashers. Vokoun is just one blanking shy of tying
his career-best mark for shutouts in a season, which was set last year. The
Czech backstop is expected to get the start again for Florida tonight.
Gregory Campbell scored the lone goal for the Panthers on Monday. Kamil Kreps
and Jason Garrison assisted on the only score of the game.
"Every game for the rest of they year is going to be huge," said Vokoun. "We
put ourselves in a bad spot early in the season. If we want to go somewhere we
have to put some wins together."
The Panthers are currently 11th in the East and two points out of a playoff
Florida is 12-12-2 as the guest this year and will wrap a brief two-game road
trip Thursday against the New York Islanders.
The Devils were blanked Monday afternoon by the host Islanders as Rick
DiPietro stopped all 20 shots he faced to post his first shutout of the season
in New York's 4-0 triumph at Nassau Coliseum.
Martin Brodeur allowed four goals on 32 shots through two periods in defeat
for the Devils, who have also lost four of five. Yann Danis stopped 14-of-14
shots over the final 20 minutes.
"I think you have to be a little bit concerned," Brodeur said of the skid. "We
know we can play well. We just have to get back to the basics."
The loss dropped New Jersey to 16-7-1 as the road club this year. The Devils
are 16-7-0 as the host and they are kicking off a two-game residency tonight.
The Devils were without Patrik Elias on Monday as the veteran winger is
sidelined with a concussion suffered Saturday in Colorado. Elias, who has 10
goals and 26 points this year, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
Florida could get defenseman Dmitry Kulikov back on the ice for the first time
since December 18 tonight. The Russian blueliner sat out the last month with a
knee injury and he is expected to return either tonight or tomorrow against
In other injury news, Panthers centerman Stephen Weiss missed his first game
of the year on Monday with a lower-body injury and is questionable for
tonight. Weiss leads Florida with 19 goals and is second on the team with 42
01/20 10:29:35 ET