Three Stars of the Game:
3rd Star: Alex Killorn (1 goal, 1 assist)
2nd Star: Andy Greene (1 goal, 1 assist)
1st Star: Steven Stamkos (2 goals, 1 assist)
Stephen Gionta, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Bryce Salvador all made their returns from injury, but it wasn’t enough as the Devils (15-11-8) dropped another tough one in the shootout Friday night to the Tampa Bay Lightning (15-18-1). The offense wasn’t the problem this time, it was the defensive play. The Devils scored in almost every way they could, scoring goals at even strength, on the power play, shorthanded, and even on a penalty shot, but couldn’t put one past Mathieu Garon during the shootout. The Devils are now 2 – 6 this year in the shootout, a huge drop-off from their shootout success last year.
The Devils will get their first look at the Florida Panthers this season. They will play the current Southeast Division leader four times this season. Last year, the Devils and Panthers split the season series 2-2, but the Devils outscored the Panthers 12-10.
Devils Roll Past Lightning:
The Devils and Lightning met up on Saturday Night as the Devils came off a split back-to-back series against the Bruins and Sabres. The Devils hoped to ride the momentum they gained as they scored five goals on the Sabres last Wednesday.
After the first period remained scoreless, the Devils went into the third period leading 3-0 with goals from Dainius Zubrus, Patrik Elias, and David Clarkson.
The Devils defense held the Lightning to only 13 shots between the first two periods of play, but the Lightning came out firing in the third period. Brodeur kept the Lightning scoreless for 51 minutes until Martin St. Louis and Ryan Shannon would score within a minute and a half of each other to pull the Lightning within one.
Ryan Carter would score a goal with 2:03 left in the third, to seal the Devils victory.
Leaders for the Devils:
Elias – 18 points
Parise – 11 points
Henrique – 11 points
Elias – 8 goals
Clarkson – 7 goals
Parise – 6 goals.
Hedberg – 6 wins
Brodeur – 4 wins
Hedberg – 2.45
Brodeur – 2.88
Hedberg – .914
Brodeur – .888
Against the Panthers:
All-time the Devils are 43-21-9-0 when playing the Panthers and 20-12-5-0 when playing in Florida.
Patrik Elias is the all-time leading scorer for the Devils against the Panthers with 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists) in 47 games played.
Ilya Kovalchuk, however, has the most career points against the Panthers with 63 points (32 goals, 31 assists) in 53 games played.
Martin Brodeur is 36-14-8 in his career against the Panthers with a 2.00 GAA.
Projected Devils Lineup:
Parise – Henrique – Kovalchuk
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus
Tedenby - Carter – Clarkson
Pelley - Mills - Janssen
Greene – Larsson
Tallinder - Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador
Panthers Hot Start Has Them Looking at Playoffs:
With the acquisitions the Panthers made this offseason, fans didn’t know what to think. They had lost star goaltender Tomas Vokoun to the Capitals, and signed Jose Theodore to replace him between the pipes. The Panthers also had Kris Versteeg, Scottie Upshall, Brian Campbell and Tomas Fleischmann all join the squad.
Currently Versteeg, Campbell, and Fleischmann are all averaging close to a point a game and somehow the Panthers find themselves in first place in the Southeast division with the competitive Capitals and Lightning looking up.
The last time the Panthers made the playoffs, Pavel Bure led the team in points and Bill Clinton was the President of the United States.
Panthers Career Stats Against Devils:
Stephen Weiss leads active Panthers in career points against the Devils with 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in 28 games.
All-time leaders for the Panthers include Scott Mellanby and former Devil, Rob Niedermayer, both have 20 points against the Devils as Panthers.
Jose Theodore is 7-14-2 in his career against the Devils with a 2.67 GAA.
Projected Panthers Lineup:
Fleischmann – Weiss – Versteeg
Sturm – Goc – Kopecky
Dadanov – Santorelli – Bergenheim
Kennedy – Matthias – Skille
Campbell – Garrison
Ellerby – Jovanovski
Weaver – Kulikov