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Preview: Panthers at Devils

Goalie Roberto Luongo starts for Florida; New Jersey aims to get power play untracked

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

PANTHERS (17-16-8) at DEVILS (16-17-8)

7 p.m. ET; SN, SN1, MSG+, FS-A, NHL.TV

 

Panthers team scope

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo will start after missing the past two games because of an upper-body injury. Luongo is 11-16-0 with a 2.86 goals-against average, three shutouts and .909 save percentage in 27 games against the New Jersey Devils. The Panthers were in the midst of a 12-game winning streak after 41 games last season but have yet to put together at least three wins in a row this season in large part because of injuries sustained to key players including forwards Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad. "New Jersey's in the same boat we are; they're fighting for a spot and coming with a desperate game plan for sure," coach Tom Rowe said. "We have to do the same thing." Said right wing Jonathan Marchessault: "If [we] don't turn this around it's going to get harder and harder. I don't think we have a three-game winning streak; it's hard to be a good team when you can't get on a streak. Everything is close, but in big games, we don't win them. We don't put ourselves in position to get breaks. We're still not out, but we have to start turning the boat around." The Panthers are looking to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1996 and 1997. 

 

Devils team scope

Goalie Cory Schneider will make his fifth straight start and 32nd of the season. He is 4-3-2 with a 2.47 GAA and .910 save percentage in 10 games against the Panthers. Schneider is looking forward to playing against Luongo, his former teammate for three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. "We've always stayed in touch and I've watched him from afar," Schneider said. "It seems like he's doing his thing at 37 but I marvel at his consistency to where he's at now. Not a whole lot has changed and that's a sign of a great goaltender." The Devils have scored two power-play goals in 35 chances during their past eight games. "Our decision to put the puck on net has to be quicker and more often," coach John Hynes said. "Our top shooter has to work to find the shot lane quicker and when he has to release the puck there. Understanding we have to funnel much more plays to the net and then have better execution on breakouts are important factors to getting the power play working." The Devils are 4-10-2 in their past 16 games, are 13th in the Eastern Conference and 28th in the League with a minus-26 goal differential. New Jersey is 6-1-0 against Florida at Prudential Center since 2012-13. 

 

Panthers projected lineup

Colton Sceviour -- Vincent Trocheck -- Jaromir Jagr

Jonathan Marchessault -- Jussi Jokinen -- Reilly Smith

Derek MacKenzie -- Michael Sgarbossa -- Jared McCann

Paul Thompson -- Denis Malgin -- Shawn Thornton

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Michael Matheson -- Aaron Ekblad

Jakub Kindl -- Mark Pysyk

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Dylan McIlrath

Injured: Aleksander Barkov (undisclosed) Jonathan Huberdeau (lower leg), Alex Petrovic (ankle), Seth Griffith (upper body), Nick Bjugstad (lower body), Greg McKegg (upper body) 

 

Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Travis Zajac -- PA Parenteau

Michael Cammalleri -- Adam Henrique -- Kyle Palmieri

Miles Wood -- Pavel Zacha -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Beau Bennett -- Sergey Kalinin -- Nick Lappin

Jon Merrill -- Ben Lovejoy

Kyle Quincey -- Damon Severson

Seth Helgeson -- Steven Santini

Cory Schneider 

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Luke Gazdic

Injured: Jacob Josefson (illness), Andy Greene (arm), Vernon Fiddler (lower body), John Moore (concussion), Yohann Auvitu (lower body)

 

Status report

Bjugstad, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday after sustaining a lower-body injury in a 2-1 win against the Nashville Predators on Friday, will miss approximately two weeks. ... McKegg, who sustained an upper-body injury in the second period of a 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, is day to day. ... Griffith, who has missed the past two games, has been cleared for contact and could return to the lineup at the New York Islanders on Wednesday. ... With Luongo back from injury, the Panthers returned goaltender Sam Brittain to Manchester of the American Hockey League. ... Bennett will replace Gazdic in the Devils lineup. .. Auvitu, injured in the first period of a 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, is day to day.

 

Who's hot

Jagr has one goal and nine points in his past nine games. ... Trocheck has three goals and six points in his past six games. ... Parenteau has three goals and four points in his past four games against the Panthers.

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