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Florida @ New Jersey
Nov 20, 2008
Florida @ New Jersey:

Panthers-Devils Preview


By LAURA MEDINA
STATS Writer
Though the New Jersey Devils have struggled to achieve consistent results without their top goaltender, they've had far less trouble beating their next opponent in recent years.
Seeking to make it two in a row for the first time in more than a month, the Devils try for their 25th win in 33 tries against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
New Jersey (8-7-2) lost Martin Brodeur to a torn biceps muscle at the start of November, and has since dropped five of seven games. The four-time Vezina Trophy winner is expected to miss four months, leaving the Devils to rely for now on Kevin Weekes and Scott Clemmensen, who have compiled a collective 3.29 goals-against average in Brodeur's absence.
They surrendered 11 goals during a four-game losing streak, but New Jersey snapped it with 6-5 shootout victory over visiting Washington on Saturday to earn a split of the home-and-home series.
Clemmensen, making his second straight start, made 20 saves through overtime then prevented all three attempts in the tiebreaker as the Devils kicked off a three-game homestand by improving to 5-4-1 at the Prudential Center.
"I want to play well," Clemmensen said. "I'm not trying to replace Marty, but the situation is what it is, and I'm trying to showcase what I can do out there."
Clemmensen has never faced Florida (7-9-1), meaning New Jersey could turn to Weekes as he is 8-3-1 with two ties and a 1.79 GAA in his last 14 appearances against the Panthers, who he played with as a rookie in 1997-98.
The Devils will be trying to win back-to-back contests for the first time since reeling off a season-high three straight from Oct. 16-18.
That might not be too difficult considering their recent success against the Panthers. New Jersey split four games with Florida in 2007-08, but is 36-18-0 with seven ties all-time, and 19-8-0 with three ties at home.
The Devils also own a 24-8-0 series advantage since Jan. 26, 2000, outscoring the Panthers 97-64.
Florida's lack of success versus New Jersey might make it hard to continue its current surge. The Panthers won three of four following an 0-5-1 slide, earning a 4-3 shootout victory at Tampa Bay on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game road trip.
Bryan McCabe scored twice in regulation, pushing his point streak to four games in which he has three goals and two assists. Nathan Horton, the Panthers' leader with 11 points, scored the lone shootout goal.
Tomas Vokoun made a season-high 49 saves through overtime - one shy of the career best he set in a win over Detroit on Dec. 23, 1998 while playing for Nashville - and stopped all three attempts he faced in the tiebreaker to end a personal five-start losing streak.
"Obviously, we got to be tighter, but we won the game," said Vokoun, who is 4-3-1 with a 2.49 GAA in eight career starts versus the Devils. "We've been a fragile team. We've had some tough times, and the win is as important as anything in this game."
Zach Parise - New Jersey's leader with 12 goals and 20 points - has three goals and three assists in his last five games, and two goals and four assists in his last eight versus Florida.
 

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i think we should be able to take advantage of Florida. They are a team we should beat, and beating the teams that you're supposed to beat is essential to a good season.

I'd like to see Weeks back in goal, Clemmenson has done very well, but Weeks is more experienced. Yeah, sure he lost some bad games, but i think part of that has to do with the devils offense (or lack thereof) in the games he played.

Now i don't have the stats or anything, but when Zach Parise does well, it seems to be that the rest of the team winds up following suit. I think it would help the Devils if the Parise has a good game.

Although we won the other night against the Caps, it was a sloppy win, and ultimately they almost beat themselves.

The one thing that we deffinitley have to do is convert scoring chances. Kind of old news, but it just seems like we're cursed. We get great chances, and they don't go in, or they go wide. It's one of the simplest concepts in hockey. Get the puck to go through the net and you will win games.
 

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and can i just ask why somebody who is a flyers fan would be posting in the Devils' section? No offense, but aren't we supposed to be like rivals?
 

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and can i just ask why somebody who is a flyers fan would be posting in the Devils' section? No offense, but aren't we supposed to be like rivals?
Doug is really a Devils fan at heart. It's just taken decades of failure by the Flyers to make him realize it.:cheeky4:

All kidding aside, the Devils put in a solid effort against the Panthers, a team they should have beaten. The second period was a bit shaky, getting outshot 10-1, but overall it was a solid team effort. Clemmensen really impressed me, making a couple of Brodeurian saves at points. Elias-Zubrus-Gionta is really starting to click as a line. Hopefully that'll continue because it would be nice to have a line besides PZL create offense consistently.

The really positive thing is that the offense seems to be finding their touch. Their hard work is finally paying off with some goals. Elias and Gionta's goals both came off great passing by that line, and Martin's was a nice play by him to walk around the forward blocking the shot and Madden providing the screen in front of Vokoun. If they can keep this up I think they'll be fine offensively when Rolston and Holik come back in the next few weeks (hopefully).
 
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