New Jersey Devils (32-35-14) at Florida Panthers (37-29-15)
|Date & Time||Saturday April 11, 2015, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Florida Panthers / New Jersey Devils --- Over/Under:
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It might not be the ending that the Florida Panthers had hoped for, but this season has been an extremely positive one for the franchise.
Heading into the season there weren’t a lot of people that thought the Panthers would be a playoff team, but for much of the year Florida was in contention. There is so much talented youth in the organization that this season is a huge building block moving forward.
After a crushing loss at the end of March up in Boston essentially ended their playoff hopes, the Florida Panthers were looking to return the favor to the Bruins on Thursday night.
The scoring in the contest came late, with the Bruins getting on the board first with under five minutes remaining in the second period. It looked like Florida would be facing a deficit heading into the third period but Jaromir Jagr fed Aleksander Barkov with a beautiful pass that resulted in his 16th goal of the season and a 1-1 tie.
Jonathan Huberdeau put the Panthers in front early in the third with his 14th goal of the season, and four minutes later Brad Boyes made it a 3-1 lead. Boston would get to within a goal at 13:15 of the period, but the Panthers held on and sealed it on Jimmy Hayes’ 19th goal of the season.
Roberto Luongo stopped 34 of the 36 shots he faced in the 4-2 win and survived an onslaught from the Bruins over the final 20 minutes of play.
Florida will be looking to end this season on a high note when the New Jersey Devils come to town on Saturday night. While the Devils have not had a good season by any stretch, they did play well on Thursday in Tampa Bay against the Lightning.
Despite being incredibly overmatched on paper the Devils put together a strong showing against the Lightning. Steve Bernier continued his strong season with his 15th goal of the season coming on the power play in the first period, but Tampa Bay would score twice before the end of the frame to take a 2-1 lead after one period.
Patrik Elias tied the game midway through the second period with his 13th goal of the season, but once again the Lightning would jump back in front. Sixteen seconds after the Lightning took a 3-2 lead, Bernier scored his second of the night to tie the game once more.
It took just 1:22 into overtime before the Lightning would end the game on the first shot of the extra session. Keith Kinkaid stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced in the 4-3 loss. Cory Schneider is expected to start the finale in Florida.
New Jersey usually plays well down in Sunrise but this has been an extremely disappointing season for the Devils overall. Florida is on the upswing and looking to take this momentum with them into the off season as they look toward what they hope will be a post season berth next year.