SUNRISE — Just over a week ago, the Florida Panthers walked out of the Prudential Center a humbled bunch. The New Jersey Devils, a team which has made the playoffs once in the past nine seasons, routed the NHL’s top team 7-3.
Although the Panthers have played three games since that night in Newark, the memory is still fresh.
Thursday night, the two teams meet again in Sunrise.
”We remember them. It was a week ago and I know everyone wants to get some payback,” Anton Lundell said. “We want to win tomorrow.”
Coach Andrew Brunette said he and the team talked about not overlooking the Devils the last time and perhaps they did not take it to heart.
The blowout win a week ago may help his message along this time.
”We better not,’’ he said. “We had talked about it before but I guess sometimes before you see it, you don’t always believe it. We warned them going in and we know how fast they play, how structured they are. They’re a hard team to play. They are a buzzsaw. We have to be ready to do the right things.”
Florida will come into the game without center Sasha Barkov after he left Tuesday’s win against the Islanders after a knee-on-knee hit from Scott Mayfield in the second period.
Brunette said Barkov is week-to-week with what is believed to be a left knee injury.
Florida is expected to activate Joe Thornton from the injured list as he was centering the third line during Wednesday’s practice.
As for a goalie, Brunette did not name one — meaning Spencer Knight could be getting another shot at the Devils after having the worst statistical night of his career last Tuesday.
Knight gave up six goals (the Devils also scored into an empty net) as New Jersey scored twice in the first 5:13 of the third to extend its lead to 4-1 and hand the Panthers their second consecutive loss following a 10-0-1 start.
If Knight starts, he comes in riding a two-game personal losing streak.
The loss to the Devils marked the first time in his short NHL career that he lost in consecutive games.
“He knows that he is an unbelievable goalie,” Barkov said after that game. “He is a huge part of this team. Without him, we wouldn’t be where we are. The past two games are not on him. It’s all on how we play. We haven’t played our best. We’re losing pucks, we’re not playing the right way.
“If we keep playing like this, it doesn’t matter (who is in goal) and keep giving up chances, it’s going to end like this.
“Knighter is a big part of our team. He has been a big part of our team since Day 1. We’re real lucky to have him.”
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: WQAM 560
- Last season: Did not play
- This season: New Jersey 7, Florida 3 (Nov. 9)
- All-time regular season series: Devils lead 56-32-6, 7 ties
- Odds via BetMGM: Florida (PL -1.5 +135) — (ML -190) — U/O 6
- Up next: Minnesota at Florida, Saturday, 7; New Jersey at Tampa Bay, Saturday, 4
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 9 Sam Bennett // 10 Anthony Duclair
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
77 Frank Vatrano // 19 Joe Thornton // 74 Owen Tippett
94 Ryan Lomberg // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
42 Gus Forsling // 7 Radko Gudas
62 Brandon Montour // 44 Kevin Connauton
30 Spencer Knight
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Scratched: Lucas Carlsson, Maxim Mamin
Injured: Noel Acciari (IR), Olli Juolevi (IR), Markus Nutivaara (IR), Mason Marchment (IR), Sasha Barkov
PROJECTED NEW JERSEY DEVILS LINEUP
37 Pavel Zacha // 13 Nico Hirschier // 90 Tomas Tatar
11 Andreas Johnsson // 18 Dawson Mercer // 63 Jesper Bratt
17 Yegor Sharangovich // 70 Jesper Boqvist // 59 Janne Kuokkanen
55 Jason Geertsen // 20 Michael McLeod // 16 Jimmy Vesey
33 Ryan Graves // 7 Dougie Hamilton
24 TY Smith // 28 Damon Severson
71 Jonas Siegenthaler // 76 P.K. Subban
29 MacKenzie Blackwood
45 Jonathan Bernier