Apr 19, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; Florida Panthers center Jerred Smithson (25) faces off with New Jersey Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) during the third period of game four of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the Prudential Center. New Jersey Devils defeat the Florida Panthers 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

A Look Ahead To Game 5


Thursday night the Florida Panthers and its fans witnessed what was their first real low point during the playoffs. The New Jersey Devils showed the Panthers what it is like to have experience in the NHL’s second season and with the series coming back to Sunrise tonight, the Devils look to have the upper hand on the Cats. The inexperience of the Panthers finally showed Thursday night as they were dominated losing to New Jersey 4-0. Tonight the Panthers look to avenge their 4-0 loss as the team takes the ice in front of their home crowd for the first time in six days. In order for the Panthers to claim the lead as theirs they must do these few things to have a chance against the Devils.

 

COME OUT FIRING:

Despite having more shots in the previous game than they had in all the other games, the Panthers were unfortunate and ran into a highly motivated Marty Brodeur. However, the team must come out with the mentality that Brodeur gave up multiple goals in the last game. The Cats need to make sure that they can get quality shots on goal on Brodeur. Even if they are unable to get the quality shots, they must continue to throw the puck out in front of the net like they did in their 4-3 comeback win Tuesday night at the Prudential Center. Look for players such as Jason Garrison (who is listed as day-to-day), Sean Bergenheim, and Stephen Weiss come out looking to build some offensive momentum and attempt to keep what will be a packed house on their feet cheering and waving those red rally towels.

 

PLAY BETTER DEFENSE:

In the first game of the series the Panthers let up 26 shots in the first period. Since then the Panthers have tightened up their defense. Even though the defense has played well recently, the defense will be one of the big keys as to what the outcome will be in tonight’s game. Veteran defenders Brian Campbell and Ed Jovanovski must come out showing toughness as the younger players will look to feed off of the veterans play. Fans are hoping that Jason Garrison will be able to play tonight as he is a key part to not only our offense but our defense. Without his presence on the ice, the Panthers just didn’t feel the same. If the defense can play to their potential, then the rest will come such as improved goaltending and better offensive chances.

 

GOALTENDING MUST STEP UP:

Tuesday night’s game didn’t start off well for starting goaltender Jose Theodore as the Devils came out and netted three goal in the first six minutes. Theodore was pulled just after six minutes in favor of Scott Clemmensen who went on to help the Panthers earn their biggest comeback win in the season as they went on to win 4-3. Head coach Kevin Dineen decided to start Clemmensen for game four. After dominating his time in his previous appearance, Clemmy had all the momentum coming into game four. Starting off game four with a strong first period performance, the Devils felt some déjà vu as Clemmensen carried his hot play into game four. However after good first period, the Devils finally found the back of the net as Zach Parise scored his second goal of the series. After scoring their first goal, the Devils didn’t let up as they added an extra three goals in the third period. Even though it isn’t all on the goalie, Theodore and Clemmensen need to pick up their game if the Panthers want a chance to claim victorious in the series.

 

FANS:

Yes the fans will be a key role in tonight’s game! The players are looking to help feed off of the electricity that the fans will be emitting throughout the Bank Atlantic Center. With more than 19,000 red towels waving throughout the crowd, the Panthers will definitely hold the advantage in tonight’s game as they look to take back what was theirs, the lead of the series.

 

Thanks for reading.

Follow The Rat Pack on Twitter! Me: @justenrosenberg, Frank Rekas: @TheRatTrick Josh Luecht: @joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin: @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin: @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez: @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis: @peejlewiz, Adam Reid: @AdamReid_, Gabby Kiger: @gabbykiger, Chrissy Parente: @Chrissaay44, and Amanda Land: @HockeyGirl2530. Also, please visit our Facebook Fan Page and like us! Share comments, photos, anything Panthers related!

 

Tags: Bank Atlantic Center Brian Campbell Ed Jovanovski Florida Panthers Jason Garrison New Jersey Devils Nhl Playoffs Sean Bergenheim Stephen Weiss Zach Parise