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Florida Panthers at New Jersey Devils - Game 54 Preview

Florida: 25-17-11 (61PTS)
New Jersey: 31-19-4 (66PTS)
Season Series: 1-1-1
Game Time: 1:00 PM EST
Television: Fox Sports Florida, MSG Plus 2
Radio: 640 WFTL

This afternoon is the last game of the season against Pete DeBoer's New Jersey Devils. The Panthers won the first matchup and have lost the last two. The Panthers reclaimed first in the Southeast Division by virtue of a game on hand on the Capitals, but they need to string some wins together to lock the division lead. The Cats have a good chance to pick up points this weekend. The Devils have been good, but the Panthers have, for the most part, played well against them this season. While Patrik Elias complained about losing to a "one line" team early in the season, the second and third lines are now scoring, with the second line of Sean Bergenheim, Marcel Goc and Mikael Samuelsson in particular having a few good games in the last couple of weeks. The early start in particular means the Panthers have to be better at the beginning of the first period than they have been. If they can play a good first five, they have a good chance to win this one.

More from our New Jersey cohorts at In Lou We Trust.
Panthers vs Devils coverage at SB Nation.
SB Nation Preview.
LBC Game Thread will open 30 minutes prior to puck drop.

News and Notes

Last meeting

The Devils beat up on the Panthers in their first visit to New Jersey, winning 5-2. Ilya Kovalchuk had the game winner, with Johan Hedberg having the win in goal.

Last game

The Panthers beat the Kings 3-1 in Sunrise on Thursday night.

Lineup

No lineup changes are expected today. Ed Jovanovski is now about two weeks from returning.

Injuries

  • F Scottie Upshall (core), 2/1, 6 to 8 weeks
  • F Jack Skille (shoulder), 12/16, at least a week
  • F Marco Sturm (lower body), 2/2 unknown
  • G Jacob Markstrom (knee), 1/7, 4 to 6 weeks
  • D Ed Jovanovski (hand), 1/16, week to week
  • D Dmitry Kulikov (knee), 1/21, 6 to 8 weeks

Possible Scratches

  • None

Starting goaltenders:

Martin Brodeur will be starting for the Devils. Scott Clemmensen will probably start against his former team, with Jose Theodore returning to action against the Islanders on Sunday.

Lines

Forwards
  1. Fleischmann-Weiss-Versteeg
  2. Bergenheim-Goc-Samuelsson
  3. Kopecky-Matthias-Bradley
  4. Barch-Madden-Santorelli
Defense
  1. Campbell-Gudbranson
  2. Garrison-Weaver
  3. Strachan-Ellerby