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Game Preview #24: New Jersey Devils vs. the Florida Panthers

The Devils take on the Panthers for the second time this season. This time, both teams will be missing a top line winger.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Minnesota Wild
Let's hope to see Taylor Hall keep up his scoring pace.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (14-5-4) versus the Florida Panthers (8-12-2). SBN Blog: Litter Box Cats

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: MSG+

Meeting Again: The Devils and Panthers meet for the second time this season. Since their first time facing off, in which the Devils won, the Devils have gone 4-1-2 and the Panthers have gone 3-3-0. I previewed that game in this post, and John recapped it in this post.

My criticism of the Panthers’ team has not changed. They’re a top six heavy team, and the key to beating them is to shut down the line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, and Evgeny Dadonov. However, Dadonov is out with a shoulder injury and could miss a significant chunk of time. Aside from that, only Vincent Trocheck has over 11 points (22) for the Panthers.

Struggling: The Dadonov injury might be a killer for the Panthers, as they're already near the bottom of the standings. It might be best for them to trade Roberto Luongo, who is playing as well as ever. Luongo has a .928 save percentage with a 2.71 goals against average. Without Dadonov, what subpar goal support he's had so far is likely to decline. It might take a miracle for the Panthers to come back in the standings, and I don't think they'll get one.

Not Struggling: The Devils have had to win some games in a less than spectacular fashion, but they aren't exactly a team that I would call struggling. While they, like the Panthers, are a weak possession team, they have the scoring depth to make up for it. I would be moderately disappointed if the Devils lost tonight, because the Panthers are a mess. And to stay in first place, the Devils have to take advantage of messes.

Your Take: What do you think of tonight’s game? Do you think there will be any changes to the Devils lineup? Do you think there should be? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.