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Panthers to Face Motivated Devils Tonight After Coaching Change

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Barkov reinhart
Sam Reinhart is congratulated by his Florida teammates after scoring against the New Jersey Devils in the Panthers’ first win of the season on Oct. 16 in Newark. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The Florida Panthers will face yet another motivated team tonight when they visit the New Jersey Devils.

On Monday, New Jersey fired Lindy Ruff after a disappointing season and replaced him with assistant Travis Green.

Green replaced Andrew Brunette as Ruff’s assistant when he left to take over the Nashville Predators this past summer.

New Jersey, which made it to the second round of the playoffs last season, come into tonight’s game eight points back of the Lightning for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Devils (30-27-4) have lost five of seven and are coming off a 1-2 California trip where their only win came in San Jose.

“It’s been an extremely tough day for me personally,” New Jersey Devils general manager and original Panther Tom Fitzgerald said.

“When you have to let go of a good friend, a very good coach throughout his career, it’s not easy to be quite honest. At the end of the day, I felt it was the right decision for the organization at this time.”

Florida, however, is playing a very sustainable game.

The Panthers not only come into tonight’s game with five straight wins, but have won 11 of 12 and 15 of the past 17.

Florida (42-16-4) leads the NHL with 86 points with 20 games remaining. Florida had 92 points last season.

Coach Paul Maurice mentioned how New Jersey would come out flying tonight after the change.

“We are going to be smart,” Maurice said after Monday’s 4-2 win over the Rangers. “With the coaching change happening, they have all the advantage with the energy. Every guy on that team wants to come back; they have a clean slate.

“They don’t carry the weight of what happened to their season anymore. They have no shortage of skill, so we’re going to have to come out as fast as we possibly can.”

— The Panthers did not hold a morning skate following Monday’s win at Madison Square Garden, but Anthony Stolarz is expected to be Florida’s starting goalie.

Stolarz is 0-1-1 all-time against the Devils in five games.

This will be Stolarz’s 11th road start — and he leads all NHL goalies with more than six starts with a 1.64 GAA and .940 save percentage on the road; he is 7-2-1 away from Sunrise.

New Jersey will start Akira Schmid.

ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ NEW JERSEY DEVILS

  • When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Prudential Center, Newark
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM 2;WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Local Odds — Panthers Favored: Money Line (-120); Puck line (-1.5, +185); Over/Under 6.5 (-120/+100)
  • Season Series (Tied 1-1) — At New Jersey: Panthers 4, Devils 3 (October 16)Tuesday. At Florida: Devils 4, Panthers 1 (Jan. 13).
  • Last Season: Florida won 2-1
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Devils lead 58-36-7, 7 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS (42-16-4) LINES

23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart

21 Nick Cousins // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk

27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 17 Evan Rodrigues

12 Jonah Gadjovich // 82 Kevin Stenlund // 94 Ryan Lomberg

42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad

77 Niko Mikkola // 62 Brandon Montour

91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson// 7 Dmitry Kulikov

41 Anthony Stolarz

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Josh Mahura, Steven Lorentz, Will Lockwood

Injured: None

PROJECTED NEW JERSEY DEVILS (30-27-4) LINES

28 Timo Meier // 13 Nico Hischier // 73 Tyler Toffoli

86 Jack Hughes // 56 Erik Haula // 63 Jesper Bratt

11 Chris Tierney // 42 Curtis Lazar // 91 Dawson Mercer

23 Kurtis MacDermid // 92 Tomas Nosek // 10 Alexander Holtz

71 Jonas Siegenthaler // 6 John Marino

88 Kevin Bahl // 2 Brendan Smith

43 Luke Hughes // 24 Colin Miller

40 Akira Schmid

50 Nico Daws

Scratched: Simon Nemec, Nick DeSimone

Injured: Dougie Hamilton (torn pectoral muscle), Vitek Vanecek (lower body), Ondrej Palat (lower body)

New Jersey Devils lines courtesy NHL.com

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