Home > Season Preview > Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Florida Panthers

Devils 2010-2011 Schedule Preview – Florida Panthers

Throughout the offseason and training camp, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Season Preview” tab. In today’s preview, we go to the Eastern Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers held Zach Parise to three assists and no goals against them last season. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Devils vs. Panthers – Historical Data

In 69 all-time regular season meetings against the Panthers, the Devils are 41-21-7-0. New Jersey averages 2.78 goals against Florida, and allows the Panthers to average 2.10 goals against them. Last season, the team’s squared off four times, with the team’s splitting the season series, 2-2-0.

The Devils won the first matchup of the season, 3-2, in Florida. After a scoreless first period, Rob Niedermayer opened the game’s scoring, giving the Devils a lead, 1-0, at 11:14 of the period. Rostislav Olesz pulled the Panthers even, scoring at 13:58 to tie the game at one. Travis Zajac would restore the Devils’ lead, putting New Jersey ahead, 2-1, with a powerplay goal at 17:47 of the second period.

But, once again, the Panthers would battle back. Stephen Weiss tied the game, netting a powerplay goal at 14:37 of the third period to knot the game at two. David Clarkson played the hero for New Jersey, scoring the team’s second powerplay goal at 16:25 to put the Devils ahead, 3-2.

The Panthers evened the season series on December 11, defeating the Devils, 4-2, at the Prudential Center. Jordan Leopold put the Panthers on the board first, scoring at 3:53 of the first period to put Florida ahead of New Jersey, 1-0. Michael Frolik extended the lead, putting the Panthers ahead, 2-0, at 2:24 of the second period. Shawn Matthais scored a minute later, pushing the lead to 3-0. But the Devils wouldn’t fold it in.

Brian Rolston put New Jersey on the board, scoring at 7:16 to cut Florida’s lead to 3-1. Dean McAmmond drew the Devils even closer, scoring just 1:05 into the third period to shrink the Panthers’ lead to 3-2. But the effort wouldn’t pay off, as Frolik scored the proverbial dagger at 2:23 of the third period to restore Florida’s two-goal lead which put them ahead, 4-2.

The Devils blanked Florida, 2-0, on January 20 at The Rock. It took almost two full periods, but Zajac put the Devils on the board first, scoring the game’s first goal at 18:30 of the second period to give the Devils a lead, 1-0. McAmmond iced the victory at 19:59 of the third period, tapping in a shorthanded, empty-net goal for the 2-0 lead. Martin Brodeur finished with 22 saves for the shutout win. Tomas Vokoun stopped 31 shots in the loss.

For more of the preview, read after the jump!

Brodeur lunges to make a save during a 2-0 shutout win over the Panthers. Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun/Getty Images

Florida won the last game of the season series, 3-2, on their home ice. Patrik Elias opened the scoring, giving the Devils a lead, 1-0, just 59 seconds into the second period. Florida responded at 6:03 of the period, tying the game at one with a goal from Frolik.

The third period belonged to Florida. Radek Dvorak gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead at 1:14 of the third period. Nathan Horton extended the lead, putting the Panthers ahead, 3-1, at 12:23 of the third period. Clarkson scored at 14:46 to shrink the lead to 3-2, but the Devils couldn’t complete the comeback.

Devils vs. Panthers – This Season’s Matchup

The Devils and Panthers will meet four times this season, with all the games coming in 2011. All four matchups take place between January and February, so this season series begins and ends quickly.

The Panthers made some significant changes this offseason. The team traded Horton, who scored 142 goals for the Panthers, and teammate Gregory Campbell to Boston for underwhelming defenseman Dennis Wideman. The team then dealt Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich to Vancouver, acquiring Steve Bernier and Michael Grabner. Florida wasn’t done trading, as they acquired Marty Reasoner from Chicago for Jeff Taffe.

Florida wasn’t done acquiring players for this season. The team signed Christopher Higgins, who has underperformed during his time with the Canadiens and Rangers. Nathan Paetsch was also signed to increase the depth along the blue line.

The Devils have historically done well against Florida, and I believe last season was an exception. With the team trading one of its top scorers and not replacing his production, I’d expect the team’s scoring to dip. Clearly, Vokoun is the best player on this team, and he can steal some games now and then. But the Devils should get six points out of this season series. If they don’t, I’d be shocked.

Stat Pack

Frolik and Horton both led Florida skaters with four points against the Devils…Parise had three points, all assists, against the Panthers last season…In 14 career games against the Devils, Voukoun is 5-6-0-1 with a 2.40 goals against average and a .923 save percentage…In 55 career starts against Florida, Brodeur is 34-14-7 with a 2.00 G.A.A. and a .917 save percentage.

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