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Rapid Fire: Taking On New Jersey

by Bill Lindsay / Florida Panthers
Welcome to Rapid Fire. Panthers broadcasters Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay will hit five different thoughts. It's up to them as far as what topics they want to talk about as teams, and more specifically the Panthers, challenge for the Stanley Cup.

Bill Lindsay shares his five thoughts on the Panthers playoff series against the New Jersey Devils.

1. Goaltending: Goaltending is always important. Whoever has the better goalie usually winds up on top. For the Panthers they will need Jose Theodore to be the goalie he was for most of the season, the one who led the Panthers and was the No. 1 man in the nets. He struggled the last few games and needs to return to form. If Scott Clemmensen gets the call, he has played great of late, and must stay hot. For the Devils the aging Martin Brodeur will be the man. He had an average season numbers wise, but he is arguably the greatest goalie of all time and is always capable of stealing the show.

2. Controlling Kovalchuk: Ilya Kovalchuk is one of the game's best goal scorers, and can single handily dominate a game. He can be electric but he also has lapses defensively and can get frustrated. It is up to the Panthers to keep him under wraps and exploit his defesive weaknesses.

3. Finding Offense: The Panthers must find a way to score goals. The top line of Kris Versteeg, Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann must produce and the power play must come through when it gets opportunities. One thing to watch in this series is the defensemen. The Panthers have a huge advantage when it comes to offense from the defensemen. Look for the Panthers defense to be actively involved.

4. Discipline: Always important to be smart and stay out of the penalty box. The Panthers have been good in this category all year and it must continue against New Jersey. There are good penalties and bad penalties. Florida must avoid taking those "dumb" penalties. Those really hurt in the payoffs.

5. Home Ice: The Panthers have home ice advantage and they must capitalize on their home games. The first two at home are critical as you want to get off to a good start in the series. They worked all year for that 3rd seed and now they must continue with the hard work and determination. Should be has been a long wait. Get out to the Bank Atlantic Center and support your Cats.

Author: Bill Lindsay |

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