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Game 18: Crucial Game #1

As I mentioned earlier, for various reasons, this is the first of two crucial back-to-back games. Tom Gulitti reported on Wednesday that Sheldon Brookbank will get another game as a winger, so if you're a fan of Petr Vrana, sorry. It doesn't look like he'll play again. Rich Chere has an excellent point as to why Patrik Elias has played on the right with John Madden and Jay Pandolfo in recent games; but I'd have to think that will change for tonight's game. Namely because according to Gulitti's notes on Wednesday's practice, Elias is lined up with Dainius Zubrus and Brian Gionta. And so I expect the threesome to at least start together. Of course, they won't end together unless they have a great night.

On the Florida side of things, I haven't seen too much. George Richards of the Miami Hearld has reported at his blog On Frozen Pond on Wednesday that Peter DeBoer ran a physical practice. I wonder if that means we should expect a physical game? He also notes that winger Kamil Kreps is probable for the game. At the Sun Sentinal blog for the Florida Panthers, Steve Gorten last had something up on Tuesday stating that Stillman wouldn't play at least the next two games due to post-concussion symptoms. Well, the Panthers played the Lightning on Monday, so I guess that means he won't be featured against New Jersey?

Anyway, this is the first game thread of the new ILWT and it's going to be a bit rough as it'll be the first one. And I won't even be involved; as I'll be at the Rock (with some food) sitting in Section 1 and making far more obnoxious noise then I probably should. So, keep it clean, keep it relevant to the game or either team, and keep it New Jersey.