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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Devils

by "Hockey Pat" McGrath / Florida Panthers

THE LOWDOWN is a gameday preview produced by “Hockey Pat” McGrath, a lifelong Cats fan who previously wrote for the Florida Panthers themed blog “TheRatTrick”. The contents of THE LOWDOWN and all opinions expressed therein are solely those of Hockey Pat and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Panthers or Sunrise Sports & Entertainment LLC. Having said that, if you find yourself laughing or smiling as you read the LOWDOWN, feel free to thank us. We accept thank you notes, tweets and ticket purchases.

Florida Panthers vs. New Jersey Devils

Panthers Devils
Record 27-40-8 31-28-15
Points 62 77
Place 7th in Atlantic 6th in Metropolitan

The Florida Panthers begin their final road trip of the season tonight when they take on the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center at 7:30 p.m. ET with the game shown on NBCSN. Tonight’s game is Florida’s penultimate road game of the season, with the finale coming on Tuesday out on Long Island.

Here is the Lowdown:

Jagr Bomb!

Good ol’ Jags with the best photo bomb since Frank Underwood Kevin Spacey pulled off the trick at the Oscars…

Playoff Picture

Ha!....Get it!....

But Seriously

The Devils playoffs hopes are dwindling. With 77 points, New Jersey trails Columbus by five points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. According to Club Sports Stats, the Devils have just a 14.3% chance of making the playoffs. The Panthers can significantly decrease that number with a win tonight in Newark. It would be a nice little parting gift for the team that knocked the Cats out of the 2011-12 playoffs.

The Last Time

Tonight will be the third and final meeting between the Panthers and Devils this season. New Jersey won the first matchup 2-1 in extra time in January and just sixteen days ago the Cats returned the favor, topping the Devils 5-3 at BB&T Center.

In that victory, the Panthers were trailing 3-1 in the second period before scoring the game’s final four goals, including this game winner from Scottie Upshall midway through the third:

Shooting Blanks

0: Wins for the Devils in their 10 shootouts this season.

1: Goal in 30 attempts in those 10 shootout losses.

3.3: The Devils shooting percentage in the skills competition, by far the lowest in the league. The Vancouver Canucks are 29th in shootout shooting percentage at 16%.

38.0: Florida’s shooting percentage in their 14 shootouts this year; good for 12th in the NHL. The Cats have an 8-6 record in the shootout, converting on 19 of their 50 shots.

Pick a Panther

(Selecting a Panthers player to score in tonight’s game)

Current streak: 0

A fun way to add some excitement to your Panthers viewing experience is by picking one of the Panthers’ goal scorers for every game. I will be picking players for the remainder of the season and if you want to play along, tweet your picks to @FlaPanthers, #PickaPanther. If you pick right, you might get a re-tweet (commitment is not really my thing)…

Pat’s Pick: Dylan Olsen

A bold pick? Not for all those numerologists out there. Today is the final day of March so tonight will mark the changing of the calendar to the fourth month of the season. Who wears number four? Dylan Olsen. This one is in the bag.

Fantastic Four

The Panthers group of talented prospects experienced a red-letter weekend as four of Florida’s collegiate prospects advanced to the Frozen Four in the NCAA Hockey Tournament.

Ian McCoshen and Michael Matheson (Boston College), Rocco Grimaldi (University of North Dakota) and Kyle Rau (University of Minnesota) are the foursome of future Cats that will be competing for the national championship beginning with Thursday’s National semifinals.

With four players in the Frozen Four, the Panthers have the second most players remaining in the tournament behind only the Chicago Blackhawks with five.

Enjoy the game! Let’s Go Cats!

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