Lineups, betting odds for the Panthers at the Devils

Don’t be surprised if the Florida Panthers packed a lot of Cafe Bustelo for their quick two-game trip.

If they haven’t, well, maybe they can find some in Newark.

The Panthers are going to need a lot of strong coffee to get through this weekend.

Not only do the Panthers have early kickoffs in Newark and Buffalo, but Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils includes extra travel.

Usually, when an NHL team plays a game in the early afternoon, they stay within walking distance of the arena.

Get rid of ads!

Subscribe to FloridaHockeyNow today and tune in for the best Panthers coverage anywhere.

The Panthers stayed in lower Manhattan on Friday night and had early buses to New Jersey on Saturday for their 12:30 p.m. game against the Devils.

Sunday’s 1 p.m. start against the Sabers has at least one Tim Hortons on the march to the arena.

“It’s a tough little way in, especially early in the morning,” said Andrew Brunette. “It’s going to be a challenge for us to be ready to play on time. I’ve said it many times, but with these first games, the team ready to play the first little bit can decide that. We must be ready.

The Panthers can clinch a playoff berth this weekend as they face two teams long eliminated from the playoffs.

The Devils, who beat the Panthers 7-3 when they last visited The Rock in November, may not remember that feeling.

New Jersey has not only lost three of its last four games and six of eight, but on Thursday the Devils were beaten 8-1 by the Bruins.

Maybe they’ll be an angry bunch on Saturday morning.

Regardless of the Devils mood, the Panthers know they have to keep winning if they want to continue leading the Atlantic, with everyone chasing them in division-winning games as well.

“It’s been a weird year,” Brunette said. “To see the playoff races take place, in our division, almost a month ago. Even though the other divisions have warmed up a bit, you don’t see that often. And I can’t remember another time this happened. …

“I always watch and I think you’re very aware of all these different teams. I catch a lot of Tampa and they give you nightmares on some nights, definitely sleepless nights.

“And the way Boston plays and we played a really good team from Toronto the other day. It’s crazy.”

PRACTICE NOTES

Anton Lundel continued to work toward a return to the roster and returns Saturday against the Devils.

Lundell has been out since suffering a lower-body injury March 7 in Buffalo.

Lundell is expected to eventually return to the center of Florida’s third line with march of the masons and Sam Reinhart; Eetu Luostarinen probably center the fourth line.

With Claude Giroux centering the second line at the moment, however, Lundell can slip into the fourth line at least temporarily.

“(Luostarinen) is a rock for us, we play him everywhere and he’s probably our most reliable two-way player we have in the squad,” Brunette said.

“He’s such a smart of a player; he adapts to all molds and the versatility of our group is so important in the middle of the ice. He makes everyone around him more stable. He is a calming influence. He can play anywhere and he will help wherever he goes. He is the ultimate selfless player.

– Although Patrick Hornqvist was on the ice Friday for light pre-flight practice, Brunette said he won’t be traveling with the team and won’t return to the roster until next week.

Hornqvist has missed the last three games.

Noel Acciari, who left Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, is also day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He won’t be playing this weekend either.

Sergei Bobrovsky passes on Saturday.

Bobrovsky, the NHL’s third March star after going 7-0 with two shutouts, is two wins away from the tie by Roberto Luongo franchise record for consecutive wins set in 2016.

NEXT FOR THE FLORIDA PANTHERS

FLORIDA PANTHERS AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS

PROJECTED RANGE OF FLORIDA PANTHERS

23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair

11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 28 Claude Giroux // 94 Ryan Lomberg

17 March of the Masons // 9 Sam Bennett // 13 Sam Reinhart

27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 98 Maxim Mamin

42 Gus Forsling // 52 MacKenzie Weegar

8 Ben Chiarot // 7 Radko Gudas

18 Robert Hagg // 62 Brandon Montour

72 Sergei Bobrovsky

30 Spencer Knight

Striped: Petteri Lindbohm, Lucas Carlsson, Joe Thornton

Hurt: Markus Nutivaara (LTIR), Jonas Johansson (IR), Aaron Ekblad (LTIR), Noel Acciari (UBI), Patric Hornqvist (UBI)

PROJECTED LINEUP OF THE NEW JERSEY DEVILS

17 Yegor Sharangovich // 86 Jack Hughes // 18 Dawson Mercer

90 Tomas Tatar // 13 Nico Hirschier // 63 Jesper Bratt

11 Andreas Johnsson // 70 Jesper Boqvist // 44 Miles Wood

16 Jimmy Vesey // 20 Michael McLeod // 14 Nathan Bastian

71 Jonas Siegenthaler // 7 Dougie Hamilton

33 Ryan Graves // 28 Damon Severson

24 TY Smith // 76 PK Subban

50 Nico Daws

32 Jon Gilles

New Jersey Devils line combinations courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

Comments are closed.