Qtr. Final Game 3 Preview: Devils Vs. Panthers: Stay Strong

The series is now tied 1-1 and the Florida Panthers would sure love to win this one to have the 2-1 series lead. This will be the Panthers first road game in the playoffs and it should be interesting to see how it plays out. For the majority of the year, we have been pretty solid on the road so let’s hope that continues tonight.

It’s been an interesting first 2 games as the New Jersey Devils went up 3-0 in the first game and the Panthers went up 3-0 in game two. In both scenarios, the losing team would score 2 goals but not a third to tie it up. On Sunday night, the shots on goal were pretty lowfor both teams, unlike Friday night when the Devils had 26 shots in the first period alone. A lot can change in 2 days.

As we come up on Game 3 of the series, what do the Panthers do to remain strong? Exactly what they did in Game 2. First off, the powerplay unit was great attacking the net and picking up rebounds like the Stephen Weiss goal which put the Panthers up 2-0. Those opportunities are critical in the playoffs so we’ll need to continue taking advantage of them.  It seemed everytime we had to kill off a penalty, we shut the Devils down, giving them minimal scoring opportunities. Converting opportunities are critical in the playoffs so we’ll need to continue taking advantage of them.

The defense played a lot better in Game 2 which will be necessary for all the remaining games. Making sure we are playing physical is important but that has not been an issue. Jason Garrison, Erik Gudbranson, and Ed Jovanovski are throwing some big hits around which cause good turnovers. In Sunday’s game, we won battles for the puck in the corners of the defensive zone, quickly transitioning to offense. Quick transitions are important in playoff games when the pace of play is quicker and more hectic than usual.

The goaltending from Jose Theodore has been good. He made some key saves and kept the game 3-0 on Sunday until the third. He’ll need to be outstanding throughout the playoffs when goaltending is usually the difference maker. I feel confident he will be strong if our defense plays like they did on Sunday, we could be looking at several more wins.

The Panthers got on the board early in the game which gave them the confidence. A quick and energetic start to this game will be key.

Keys to this Game:

Maintaining strong defense

Getting to the rebounds

Taking advantage of powerplays

Playing physical

Offense needs to come out fast and ready

Better officiating! (just kidding!)

Thanks for reading and all comments are welcome!

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Tags: Ed Jovanovski Erik Gudbranson Florida Panthers Jason Garrison Jose Theodore New Jersey Devils Stephen Weiss

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