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Panthers return home to challenge Devils @NHLdotcom

DEVILS (1-2-0) at PANTHERS (1-2-0)

Season series -- It's the first meeting of four this season. Last season, the Devils went 3-1 against the Panthers, who nevertheless picked up three of a possible four points in their two games at home (a win and an overtime loss). In Florida's lone win, Tomas Vokoun made 36 saves in a 4-0 shutout.

Big Story -- The Devils are making an early-season trek through the state of Florida, and they got off to a great start with a 4-3 shootout win against Tampa Bay on Thursday. After splitting two games with Chicago during the 2009 Compuware NHL Premiere Helsinki series, Florida was routed 7-2 by Carolina on Friday night.

Team Scope:

Devils -- Two games. Eight goals. The vultures were circling Martin Brodeur. Was he done? Was this the beginning of the end?

On Thursday in Tampa, Brodeur showed he had plenty left in the tank, making 41 saves in the Devils' 4-3 shootout win.

"Marty saved the game, there’s no doubt," Devils coach Lemaire told the Newark Star-Ledger. "Through the whole game he made some great saves."

It was the Devils' first win of the season, making them the last team in the Eastern Conference to earn a point this season.

Panthers -- After a five-day rest following two games in Finland, the Panthers are playing the second of back-to-back games -- and hoping for a much better showing than they had against the Hurricanes on Friday night.

Florida fell behind 3-0 after 20 minutes and the night just got longer from there. Tomas Vokoun was pulled after giving up five goals on 26 shots. Shawn Matthias and Michael Frolik scored goals for the Panthers.

It won't be former Devil Scott Clemmensen in net tonight for Florida. He's home in Iowa attending to a personal matter, so Vokoun will get his fourth straight start to open the season.

Who's Hot -- Travis Zajac was held off the score sheet in the season opener against the Flyers, but he's registered 2 goals and 1 assist in the last two games. His goal in the final second against the Lightning on Thursday forced OT and eventually a shootout the Devils won. Frolik has goals in two of the Panthers' first three games.

Injury Report -- Devils all-time leading scorer Patrik Elias has been skating on his own, but he's still not expected back until the end of the month. The Panthers have no recent injuries and have had plenty of rest since finishing up their series with the Blackhawks in Finland.

Stat Pack -- Dating to last season, the Panthers have allowed at least one goal in each of their last 13 periods, overtime not included. That's a span of five games. Dainius Zubrus signed with the Devils before the start of the 2007-08 season and has yet to miss a game, playing in all 167 contests.

Puck Drop -- New Jersey will look to continue to build on Thursday's dramatic victory against Tampa Bay, while Florida is looking to acclimate to playing in North America after starting the season overseas. Florida has won four of its last five home openers, but the only loss was to New Jersey in 2007-08.

-- Dave Lozo,

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