New Jersey Devils at Florida Panthers - Game 31 Preview
Florida: 16-9-5 (37PTS)
New Jersey: 15-3-1 (31PTS)
Season Series: 1-0-0
Game Time: 7:30 PM EST
Television: Fox Sports Florida, MSG Plus
Radio: 560 WQAM
Three weeks ago the Devils visited Sunrise and put up a 3-0 lead in the first period. The Panthers went to work, scoring two each in the remaining periods and taking a 4-3 victory. The Devils were irritated about blowing a big lead to what Devils forward Patrik Elias referred to as a "one line team," while the Panthers remaining from last year's squad were happy at beating their former coach's team but happier for the two points. Before that game, the Panthers held a slim lead on the Washington Capitals for first in the Southeast Division. The Devils were one point and two places out of eighth place in the Conference. Today the Panthers hold a six-point lead on the Capitals while the Devils are in ninth place, tied in points with those same Capitals.Tonight the Devils will look to avenge their previous loss in Florida and the Panthers will attempt to do what they've done all season, which is to follow up a bad loss with a win.
More from our New Jersey cohorts at In Lou We Trust.
Devils vs Panthers coverage at SB Nation.
LBC Game Thread will open 30 minutes prior to puck drop.
News and Notes
Jose Theodore got the win and Tomas Fleischmann the game winning goal three weeks ago when the Devils last visited Sunrise.
On Sunday, a listless Panthers squad got beat up by what should have been a tired Rangers team playing in their second game in two days. The Rangers won the game 6-1. The lone Panthers goal was Erik Gudbranson's first NHL goal:
Matt Bradley has returned to the Panthers this week. He played on Sunday while Mike Santorelli sat in the press box as a healthy scratch. Santorelli will to play tonight, as forward Tim Kennedy has passed through waivers and been returned to the San Antonio Rampage. The lines have been shuffled again, with Samuelsson moving up to the second line in place of Santorelli and Santorelli takes Kennedy's place centering the fourth line. Keaton Ellerby will replace Erik Gudbranson in the lineup this evening. Gudbranson had a minor injury in the Sunday game against the Rangers.
- F Scottie Upshall (hip), 11/10, 6 to 8 weeks
- F Marcel Goc (undisclosed head injury), 11/16, day to day
- D Erik Gudbranson (minor calf injury), 12/11, day to day
Jose Theodore will start again in tonight's game. Theodore was pulled after giving up all 6 goals in the first two periods of the Cats' 6-1 loss in New York on Sunday. Johan Hedberg played in the Devils' 5-4 victory over the Lightning on Monday, so Martin Brodeur will get the start this evening.