Panther Road Trip Starts Against Surging Devils.

21-20-5

VS.

15-29-3

Todays’s music selection?  Jersey Girl by Bruce Springsteen. A great live performance.

A quick pregame for you as there is a ton of sports to watch on this fine Sunday, with great NHL action and the NFC and AFC championship games sanwiched between.  This afternoon the Florida Panthers will start a three game road trip before breaking for All-Star weekend, then resume another three game trip.  Today’s opponent will be the New Jersey Devils who find themselves on a three game winning streak.  Who would have thought that the Devils would be 30th in the NHL and 15th in the Eastern Conference?  But it’s true.

The Florida Panthers on the other hand are making an effort to stay afloat the playoff race and are coming off a six game homestand where they picked up 9 out of 12 points despite losing three games in either a shootout or overtime.   Florida currently sits in the 10th position in the Eastern Conference.

Scott Clemmensen will get the start this afternoon against his former team as expected, even though Tomas Vokoun has suffered a hand injury and is listed as day to day.  Cory Stillman and Mike Santorelli have been streaking and have become reliable so to speak for the Panthers.  I had second guessed the useage of Stillman recently, yet since he’s putting up the points, you sort of can’t argue with it.

I think we need to put out an apb for Michael Frolik.  Zero points in 8 games for the winger.  That’s with his ice time on the first line staying intact.  Accountabilty?

Marty Brodeur has been playing much better as of late and the Devils are strating to put some things together after a horrendous start to the season.   This won’t be an easy game for the Panthers, and  getting off to a quick start may not matter if they can’t hang on to the lead.  A win on the road to start this off is crucial.

Play a very simple road game and limit mistakes.  The Devils give up very little space and will make you earn everything you get.  Aside from their record, they are a proud team and have no desire to finish last in the league.  The power play for the Panthers was 0 for 7 Friday night against the Lightning.  That part of this teams game is going to cost the playoffs if it doesn’t get more consistent.  Playoffs?  Yea, playoffs.  It’s possible when you look at the point differential.  We aren’t out of yet, and if they can ever get this power play to connect with a bit more regularity, the points will add up.  But they have to close the deal.  That is the issue!

This isn’t like Panther teams of the past.  These guys are working hard and have also had some bad luck.  Maybe a little dance  with the Devil today changes that.

Your thoughts about the upcoming six games?

Please visit our FanSided opponent Pucks and Pitchforks.

Here’s the TSN Gameday Preview.

Tags: Cory Stillman Florida Pantehrs Marty Brodeur New Jersey Devils Scott Clemmenseon