New Jersey Devils (29-24-13) at Florida Panthers (24-34-7)
|Date & Time||Friday March 14, 2014, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Florida Panthers +119 / New Jersey Devils -131 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Panthers look to rebound after a hard fought loss to the Lightning last night when they host the Devils on Friday.
The New Jersey Devils were left dead in the water after Ilya Kovalchuk bailed on them in the offseason and fled back to Russia to play in the KHL but some timely acquisitions has them in contention to make the Eastern Conference playoffs. New Jersey comes into Friday’s action sitting just two points back of the Flyers for the eighth and final spot and while they are without some key pieces from their Eastern Conference championship team from two years ago they still have some guys who know how to win. New Jersey would love to finish the regular season on a winning note as they can avoid a first round encounter with the Bruins or Penguins if they can slide into third in the Metropolitan division which at this rate isn’t a stretch as they’re only three points back of the Rangers for that designation. Corey Schneider gets the nod between the pipes as he will go up against his former teammate Roberto Luongo.
It is funny how things can come full circle and that is exactly what has happened over the last two weeks for Roberto Luongo as he has been the centre of trade rumors for the last season and a half in Vancouver and now he is back with his former team, the Florida Panthers. Luongo looked as though he was in the clear when GM Mike Gillis traded current Devils goalie Corey Schneider at least year’s draft but the ongoing situation continued well into this season and now the two former teammates are donning entirely new digs and will be opponents tonight without any trace of having played for the Canucks. Florida is coming off a tough game last night in one they certainly would have liked to take as they dropped a 5-4 decision against their in-state rivals from Tampa Bay and while the playoffs aren’t even a thought for the Cats they would like to build for next season. Unfortunately for them here I think New Jersey is the better team and the more desperate team and I think that weighs too much in a game where the goaltending storyline will be center stage.