Buffalo Sabres (18-35-8) at Florida Panthers (23-32-7)
|Date & Time||Friday March 7, 2014, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Florida Panthers -168 / Buffalo Sabres +153 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Red Wings host the Devils at Joe Louis Arena with both teams looking to sneak into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
There have been very few teams who have endured as much hardship as the New Jersey Devils over the past couple of seasons as they went from the Eastern Conference champions and Stanley Cup runner up to losing their two franchise players in successive seasons and being heavily reprimanded by the league. The Devils were virtually given no shot to compete this season but with the regular season winding down they have certainly picked a good time to start playing their best hockey and trail the Rangers by just three points for the third automatic entry in the division. New Jersey has a handful of veteran players that have led the way particularly Jaromir Jagr who continues to thrive despite his old age and as he goes the team goes and at the moment they are both playing very well. The Devils take to the road to face a Red Wings team without its two best players but the game is at the Joe which is always a tough venue to play in for visitors.
The Red Wings have been a staple in the NHL postseason for the last 22 years and while they barely snuck in last year things were supposed to change for the red and white as they moved into the Eastern Conference. However, an aging roster and injuries to huge components of their team has the Wings battling tooth and nail to get in once again and at the moment it looks a little faint unless they can find an unsung hero to take over the offensive responsibilities. Henrik Zetterberg will be out for the rest of the season, Pavel Datsyuk will be gone for the next three weeks and Stephen Weiss continues to battle lingering issues leaving the Wings incredibly shorthanded up front and on the hunt for answers. While Jimmy Howard is a solid number one netminder I don’t think he can do enough on his own to carry this team but he will certainly have to give it his best effort as I think that might be the only way for the Wings to get in. This is a tight game between two evenly matched clubs and while I would normally side with the home team I think with the rosters being what they are at the moment the Devils are the better team and have the price on their side.