New Jersey Devils Game 15 Preview: at Florida Panthers

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: New York Rangers Goalie Alexandar Georgiev (40) makes a save on the 13th shot of the shootout, taken by New Jersey Devils Left Wing Pavel Zacha (37) during the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers on November 14, 2021 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils travel to the Sunshine State for their second matchup of the season with the Florida Panthers.

Tale of the Tape

Record: 7-4-3 (17 points, 5th in Metro)

The Opponent: Florida Panthers (11-2-3) 

Puckdrop: 7:00 PM ET

Venue: FLA Live Arena

Expected Goaltenders: Mackenzie Blackwood (2-0-1) vs. Spencer Knight (4-2-1)

Television Broadcasts: MSG+, BSFL

Florida Panthers

The Panthers have continued to stay hot since their 7-3 loss to New Jersey on November 9. Since then, Florida has earned at least a point in their last three contests including a 6-1 victory over the New York Islanders in their most recent outing.

The Panthers will turn to goaltender Spencer Knight for tonight’s matchup. Knight’s last start was in the loss to New Jersey where he gave up six goals on 30 shots. The 20-year-old netminder is 4-2-1 with a 3.27 GAA and .887 save percentage this season.

Florida will be without captain Aleksander Barkov for the foreseeable future after a knee-on-knee collision with Islanders’ defenseman Scott Mayfield on Tuesday. Barkov is considered week-to-week.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils have had an interesting week. On Sunday, New Jersey suffered a shootout loss to the New York Rangers in a game that saw goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood pulled by the league’s concussion spotter. The league then announced on Monday that Tuesday’s matchup against the Ottawa Senators would be postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Ottawa organization.

New Jersey was shaky in their last outing. The team was very lucky to get a point in the effort as they were considerably sloppy for much of the game.

After Blackwood was pulled, Jonathan Bernier entered the net and became the goaltender of record after a late goal by Pavel Zacha tied the game. The Devils had opportunities to win in the seven-round shootout but could not get a timely save to steal the win from New York.

New Jersey is expected to turn to Blackwood for tonight’s game against Florida. Blackwood stopped 30 of 33 shots in his abbreviated outing against the Rangers and carries a 2-0-1 record with 2.37 GAA and .937 save percentage into tonight.

Player to Watch: Pavel Zacha

Zacha has had a hot start to the season. Through 14 games, the 24-year-old forward is the team leader in goals with seven and is tied for the team lead in points with 11. With Zacha snagging another goal and assist against New York, he has points in three of his last four games.

New Jersey has been leaning on Zacha to score timely goals this year. If the Devils want to beat Florida, Zacha has to get scoring opportunities, especially on the power play, as he’s become a very important piece for the club.

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