NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, February 4th
(All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (22-23-6) at New Jersey Devils (18-30-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The red-hot New Jersey Devils will aim for a third straight
victory when they host the struggling Florida Panthers tonight at Prudential
The Devils picked up a 3-2 regulation win over the New York Rangers on
Thursday, giving New Jersey its eighth victory in 10 games (8-1-1).
New Jersey has recorded 17 of its 39 points this season over the recent surge,
which has helped lift the Devils out of the last spot in the NHL.
The Edmonton Oilers are now one point behind Jersey for the league's worst
record, but the Devils are still tied with the New York Islanders for last
place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
Dainius Zubrus helped the Devils notch a road victory on Thursday, recording a
goal and an assist in the win at Madison Square Garden.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Brian Rolston also scored for New Jersey, while Martin
Brodeur turned aside 25 shots in the victory.
The Devils have also won their last four home contests, improving their record
at Prudential Center this season to 10-13-2.
The Panthers, meanwhile, have lost three straight, including two since the
league returned from the All-Star break. Florida has just one victory over its
last eight games, but thanks to some losses that came after regulation, the
Panthers are 1-3-4 over that stretch.
Florida, which is last in the Southeast Division with 50 points, is still just
seven points out of the final playoff seed in the East.
However, the Panthers failed to help their postseason push at all in their
last outing, dropping a regulation decision in Montreal on Wednesday. Brian
Gionta posted the eventual game-winning goal in the third period as Montreal
clipped Florida, 3-2, at Bell Centre.
Stephen Weiss and Scott Timmins tallied for the Panthers. Tomas Vokoun played
well in defeat, stopping 38-of-41 shots.
"It's tough to win by one goal. We did score near the end but we can't expect
to win these games on the road when they're back-to-back," said Vokoun about
his club, which also dropped a shootout decision in Toronto on Tuesday. "We
played hard but couldn't score against their second stringer."
Tonight marks the end of a six-game road trip for the Panthers, who are 1-3-1
on the swing and just 11-15-1 as the guest this season.
Both meetings this year between the Devils and Panthers came last month.
Florida posted a 3-2 overtime victory on home ice on Jan. 15 and the Devils
recorded a 5-2 rout at the Prudential Center on Jan. 23. New Jersey has taken
six of 10 overall in the series and the Panthers have lost four out of five in
the Garden State.
02/04 10:55:14 ET