New Jersey Devils vs Florida Panthers Pick
The New Jersey Devils and the Florida Panthers square off in Game 7 of what has been a most intriguing series on Thursday night, with both looking to end long playoff droughts. How close has this series been?
Devils and Panthers – Game 7 should be a beauty!
New Jersey Devils at Florida Panthers
When: 6:30 PM ET, Thursday, April 26, 2012
Where: BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, Florida
Broadcast: TSN, MSG PLUS (HD)
Series tied 3-3
Devils vs. Panthers Betting Lines from betonline.com
Spread: Devils -1 ½ (+255)
Moneyline: Devils -118: Panthers +107
Over/Under: 5 goals
Each team has scored 15 goals in the six games and each holds one win in the opposition’s rink. Home ice belongs to the Panthers but momentum and experience in such pressure packed matches certainly lies with the Devils.
The New Jersey Devils certainly earned their way into the deciding game of the first round with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 6 – in a game that they outshot the Panthers 42-16!
The Devils definitely have the momentum going into Thursday’s game – everyone with the possible exception of Martin Brodeur had a hand in their impressive win in Game 6.
A healthy Travis Zajac could be the difference in Game 7. He scored the winner in Game 6 and now has three goals and three assists in the series. The other top players for New Jersey have also contributed in the offensive zone which is a good sign for the Devils – Zach Parise has four points in four games and Ilya Kovalchuk has five points in five games.
The Devils will also have the edge in goal and on defense in Game 7 – Martin Brodeur, although not looking spectacular has a 2-1-0 record in his last three games with a 1.30 goals against average and .946 save percentage. He was only forced to make just 14 saves in Game 6 but if there is one goalie that I would want in a pressure packed game – it would be the legend himself.
The Florida Panthers didn’t look great in game 6 but give them full marks for clawing back from a 2-0 hole and taking the game into overtime. The Panthers have been a little bit “Jekyll and Hyde” most recently – which team will show up on Thursday?
Florida’s offense has been OK in the series so far. Kris Versteeg who is no stranger to pressure packed games has continued to lead the team and has three points in his last two games while perhaps the most talented player on the roster Stephen Weiss hasn’t let the team down – he has two points in his last two games. The Panthers are battlers as they have shown all season long and they usually find a way to get it done in the end.
It remains to be seen who will start between the pipes for Florida. Scott Clemmensen was terrific in Game 6 recording 39 saves but is 0-1-1 with a 3.33 goals against average in his last two starts. Jose Theodore is apparently healthy and just may get the nod. Either way the advantage has to go to New Jersey in the goaltending department.
Betting Prediction: New Jersey is 9-3 in their last 12 overall and is 6-2 in their last 8 games following a win.
Although Florida has home ice advantage I just can’t see myself going against Martin Brodeur in what is almost certainly his last NHL season. Brodeur will bring his “A-Game” and his team mates will die trying to prolong Brodeur’s last Cup run. Take the Devils to rise up and finish off the pesky Panthers.
Pick: New Jersey Devils -118