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Panthers begin homestand against Devils

by Brian Compton
DEVILS (15-13-1) at PANTHERS (16-9-5)


Last 10: New Jersey 5-5-0; Florida 5-3-2.

Season Series: This is the second of four meetings between the teams. Florida earned a 4-3 victory against the Devils on Nov. 21 at the BankAtlantic Center. The Panthers rallied from a 3-0 deficit and won in regulation as Tomas Fleischmann scored with just 2:03 remaining.

Big Story: Devils center Adam Henrique has indeed emerged as a candidate to win the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie. New Jersey's third-round pick from the 2008 NHL Draft enjoyed his first 3-point night Monday, helping the Devils earn a 5-4 victory at Tampa Bay.

Team Scope:

Devils: New Jersey allowed a 2-0 lead to slip away Monday night, but Henrique, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk helped erase any momentum built by the Lightning and then hung on for the 5-4 win at the St. Pete Times Forum. Parise had a goal and two assists for the Devils, who had dropped five of their previous seven games.

"It's an important game," New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think we're both spinning our wheels a little bit where we're sitting in the standings and both trying to get some traction and move up. It was a key two points."

Panthers: Florida has been one of the surprise teams in the League this season, but it will be looking to bounce back Tuesday night after suffering a 6-1 loss against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night. Florida went 0-for-7 on the power play and was dominated from start to finish in its second straight loss.

"It was just one of those games. Some of their goals were bounces, some were mistakes. It just seemed like we were not all on the same page," defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. "Glad I was able to score, and it was a big goal at the time, but really, all that matters tonight is how we played overall, and how we respond to it. What happened, happened, it's on us now to make something good out of it. This is about us, as a team, and how we react to it."

Who's Hot: Panthers center Stephen Weiss has 7 points in his last five games, while winger Kris Versteeg has 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) in as many games and a three-game point streak.

Injury Report: New Jersey is missing Travis Zajac (ACL), Andy Greene (toe), Cam Janssen (chest) and Jacob Josefson (broken clavicle). … Florida is likely to be without Scottie Upshall (hip), Marcel Goc (upper body) and Mark Cullen (ribs).

Stat Pack: Tuesday marks the beginning of a four-game homestand for the Panthers. They'll play seven of the next nine at the BankAtlantic Center.

Puck Drop: "Even the first period, obviously our special teams weren't very good and I think any time you get a tail kicking like that, you always say things like the will to compete. That's what you always kind of hear from coaches. Certainly their want was higher than ours. ... That's an old fashion tail kicking for sure." -- Panthers coach Kevin Dineen after Sunday's 6-1 loss at New York
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