NEWARK, N.J. --
Now that the Florida Panthers
have earned their first Stanley Cup Playoff victory in more than a decade, the New Jersey Devils
believe it's time to hold serve and notch their first home postseason triumph in two years.
The Devils will host the Panthers on Tuesday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series here at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN). Florida evened the series Sunday with a 4-2 victory at BankAtlantic Center. It was the team's first playoff win since beating the New York Rangers
in Game 1 of the conference quarterfinals April 17, 1997.
"We're all looking forward to playing at home," Devils captain Zach Parise
said via a conference call Monday. "Playing in front of our fans … we know it'll be a great atmosphere. To be honest, though, none of us really minded starting on the road and we got a split. Now we will have the excitement of playing in our building."
The Devils on Tuesday will be looking for their first postseason victory at Prudential Center since April 16, 2010, when they beat the Philadelphia Flyers
5-3 in Game 2 of the conference quarterfinals.
"All the good teams play well on home ice," forward Ilya Kovalchuk
said. "They use their home-ice advantage. If you want to be considered one of the elite teams in the NHL, you have to play better on home ice. In the playoffs, it's important to play better on home ice, that's for sure."
The Devils did not practice Monday after flying north from Florida in the morning. Devils coach Peter DeBoer
said Sunday that rest is invaluable for his team, which has the oldest average age in the NHL at 30.3 years.
DeBoer, who said there will be no lineup changes for Tuesday, was asked how he might be able to bottle that energy the team exhibited in the final period of Game 2 for a full 60 minutes.
"That's the waves of momentum that you ride in the playoffs … you see it everywhere," DeBoer said. "I don't know why. When we had the 3-0 lead in Game 1, we couldn't come back with another period like that and I'm sure [Florida coach] Kevin Dineen
would say the same thing about their third period on Sunday but that's playoff hockey.
"Overall, I like our game, I like where we're at. We made mistakes on Sunday and they made us pay, but we feel confident moving forward."
Here is the Devils' projected lineup for Game 3:
- Travis Zajac
- Ilya Kovalchuk
- Patrik Elias
- Dainius Zubrus
- Adam Henrique
- David Clarkson
- Stephen Gionta
- Steve Bernier
- Mark Fayne
- Marek Zidlicky
- Peter Harrold