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Florida Panthers GameDay

GameDay No. 69: Lines, Betting Odds for Devils at Panthers

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NHL referee Chris Rooney and linesman Libor Suchanek try to break up a fight between Nico Hischier and Matthew Tkachuk during the third period of the Nw Jersey Devils’ game at Florida on Dec. 21. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

The Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils have only played twice this season but both games have been heated.

In the first game, Sasha Barkov sustained a knee injury after getting hit by Nico Hischier during a faceoff in the final seconds of the opening period.

When the two teams met for the second time, the game ended with a brawl as Matthew Tkachuk went after Hischier.

Expect an intense game tonight as they meet for the third and final time — at least in the regular season — but not to settle any scores.

Both teams have a lot to play for tonight: the Devils are trying to win the Metropolitan Division as they continue to chase down the Hurricanes while the Panthers are trying to make up ground for a wild card spot.

The Devils are looking forward to being challenged by a Florida team which comes in riding a five-game (4-0-1) point streak. New Jersey has lost its past two games, both to the Lightning.

“This is good for us because the whole idea is we want to be playoff ready and they’re trying to get there now,” defenseman Brendan Smith said on Saturday per the team website.

“You’re getting good tests right now. That’s why this is a fun time of the year. Because everybody is playing their best whether to up their game to get themselves ready or they’re trying to make the playoff push. We’ll have good competition. We’re trying to make sure we have the right mindset going in.”

The Panthers, again, had full participation in practice on Friday and are expected to roll out the same lineup they have used over the past few games.

Sergei Bobrovsky will be in net for Florida; the Devils will start Akira Schmid.

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FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK

NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS

PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP

27 Eetu Luostarinen // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair

23 Carter Verhaeghe // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk

94 Ryan Lomberg // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart

21 Nick Cousins // 12 Eric Staal // 6 Colin White

42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad

18 Marc Staal // 62 Brandon Montour

28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

29 Mack Guzda

Scratched: Casey Fitzgerald

Injured: Givani Smith (LTIR-face), Patric Hornqvist (LTIR-concussion)

PROJECTED NEW JERSEY DEVILS LINEUP

90 Tomas Tatar // 13 Nico Hischier // 91 Dawson Mercer

18 Ondrej Palat // 86 Jack Hughes // 63 Jesper Bratt

96 Timo Meier // 56 Erik Haula // 70 Jesper Boqvist

17 Yegor Sharangovich // 20 Michael McLeod // 42 Curtis Lazar

71 Jonas Siegenthaler // 7 Dougie Hamilton

33 Ryan Graves // 6 John Marino

2 Brendan Smith //28 Damon Severson

40 Akira Schmid

41 Vitek Vanecek

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