New Jersey Devils (18-22-9) vs. Florida Panthers (21-15-10)
7:00 PM ET • Prudential Center • MSG Plus • Sports Radio 66 AM & 101.9 FM WFAN
New Jersey will not have a morning skate. President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello will be available outside of the Devils’ locker room at 4:45 PM. Select player availability to follow.
Coming Into Tonight
Tonight’s contest is the third of a five-game homestand. Nineteen of the team’s final 33 games will be played at Prudential Center.
The Devils have points in a season-high (tie, Oct. 9-14, 3-0-0 & Oct. 21-25, 1-0-2) three straight games (2-0-1).
New Jersey is closing-out its 11th of 18 sets of back-to-back games. The team is 4-4-3 in first games and 2-4-3 in second games when playing on consecutive dates.
The Devils 2/3 on the penalty-kill last night & are 21/23 (91.3%) over the last six games.
Florida snapped a five game winless (0-4-1) stretch with a 3-2 victory over Columbus on Thursday.
The Panthers are currently fifth in the Atlantic Division/ninth in the Eastern Conference.
Nick Bjugstad leads Florida with 16g-13a-29pts, including 1g-3a-4pts over his last five games.
Aaron Ekblad is second on the club with 7g-21a-28pts and has set new franchise records for assists/points by a defenseman. He ranks third among all NHL rookies in scoring behind Filip Forsberg (17g-25a-42pts) and Johnny Gaudreau (15g-22a-37pts).
Roberto Luongo ranks first among active NHL goaltenders in games played (841), wins (390) and shutouts (68). He passed Jacques Plante for 11th all-time in games played (383) January 17 vs. Edmonton & passed Dominik Hasek for 11th all-time in career wins (390) January 11 at Edmonton.
Last Game: January 30 – Devils 1 vs. Pittsburgh 2 (OT)
Despite the loss, the Devils have points in seven of their last nine games (5-2-2) and are 4-1-2 over their last seven games at Prudential Center.
New Jersey lost at home to Pittsburgh for the first time since March 17, 2012; the Devils are 15-3-1 vs. the Penguins at The Rock since 2008-09.
Pittsburgh outshot New Jersey, 43-14; the 43 shots against tied a season-high (January 8 at Boston).
Cory Schneider faced a season-high 43 shots/made a season-high 41 saves (previously, 42/40 January 8 at Boston) in his NHL-leading 43rd start in goal. He’s now 5-1-1 in his last seven decisions.
Steve Bernier netted his seventh goal of the season/fourth in the last five games. Bernier now has 7g-7a-14pts in 34 games this season; he posted 3g-9a-12pts in 78 appearances in 2013-14.
Andy Greene played in his 196th straight game, dating back to March 6, 2012, and tied Scott Stevens (196 games, November 23, 1993-October 5, 1996) for the second-longest consecutive games-played streak by a defenseman in Devils’ history. Ken Daneyko (388 games, November 4, 1989-March 29, 1994) holds the record.
Devils vs. Panthers
Tonight’s contest is the second of three meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals and the first to be played at Prudential Center. The Devils won, 5-1, at Florida on October 11, despite being outshot, 29-24.
Damon Severson (1g-1a) and Eric Gelinas (2a) each had 2pts to lead the Devils, while Derek MacKenzie scored the Panthers’ only goal.
Cory Schneider (28 saves) earned the win in goal for New Jersey.
Roberto Luongo (L, 22:47, 5 goals allowed/14 shots against) made the start in goal for Florida, but was relieved by Al Montoya (ND, 0 GA/10 SA) in the second period.
Patrik Elias is the Devils’ career leader with 26g-24a-50pts in 57 games vs. the Panthers.
Travis Zajac has 12g-17a-29pts in 33 career games (including playoffs) vs. Florida.
Schneider is now 3-1-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average & a .921 save-percentage in five career games vs. Florida.
The Devils lead the all-time series 50-24-10, are 4-0-0 in their last four home games vs. the Panthers and are 28-10-4 in the previous 42 games played in New Jersey.
The final game of the season series will be played April 11 at BB&T Center.
Scott Gomez played 46 games for Florida during the 2013-14 season.
Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo were teammates with Vancouver for three full seasons from 2010-13.
Panthers’ Assistant Coach John Madden played nine seasons with the Devils from 1999-2009 and was a member of their 2000 & 2003 Stanley Cup Championship teams.
Former Devils’ forward Jim McKenzie currently serves as a scout for the Panthers.
Florida’s captain Willie Mitchell was New Jersey’s 12th choice (eighth round), 199th overall, in the 1996 Entry Draft. He played 18 games with the Devils from 1999-00 before being traded to Minnesota for Sean O’Donnell on March 4, 2001.
DEVILS RESTRUCTURE COACHING STAFF: On December 27, New Jersey restructured its coaching staff by adding Scott Stevens and Adam Oates. They join Tommy Albelin, Mike Foligno and Chris Terreri on the team’s staff. Peter DeBoer and Dave Barr were relieved of their coaching duties.
AN ALL-STAR AGAIN:Patrik Elias recorded 2a and was +5 for Team Toews in its 17-12 win over Team Foligno at the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus on Sunday. Elias now has 1g-6a-7pts in four career All-Star Games (2000, 2002 & 2011).
IRON MAN: Andy Greene played in his 196th straight game, dating back to March 6, 2012, last night vs. Pittsburgh to tie Scott Stevens (196, November 23, 1993-October 5, 1996) for the second-longest consecutive games-played streak by a defenseman in Devils history. Ken Daneyko (388 games, November 4, 1989-March 29, 1994) holds the record.
ELIAS REACHES NHL MILESTONES:Patrik Elias posted 1g-2a-3pts January 6 vs. Buffalo, including the 600th assist & 1,000th point of his NHL career. He became the 80th player in NHL history to record 600a and the 82nd to compile 1,000pts. Elias’s goal that night was the 399th of his career; he’s looking to become the 91st player all-time to reach the 400-goal mark. Of the 81 previous players to reach 1000pts, only one matched Elias in also hitting a century milestone in either goals or assists in the same game in which he scored his 1,000th point. That was Boston’s Jean Ratelle, whose 1,000th career point was also his 600th assist (April 3, 1977 vs. Toronto). Ratelle had scored his 400th goal the day before. credit Elias Sports Bureau
JAGR CLIMBING UP THE CHARTS: Jaromir Jagr has career totals of 714g-1,066a-1,780pts in 1,518 NHL games. He recorded his 15th career hat trick on January 3 vs. Philadelphia and now trails Phil Esposito (717g) by three goals for fifth in NHL history. He scored his 709th goal on November 28 vs. Detroit to move past Mike Gartner for sole-possession of sixth place all-time. On December 15 at the NY Islanders, he posted the 1,064/65th assists of his career to pass Steve Yzerman (1,063a) for sole possession of seventh-place in NHL history. He now has 1,066a and trails Adam Oates (1,079a) by 13 for sixth all-time. He recorded 1g-1a-2pts on December 8 at Carolina to tie/surpass Marcel Dionne (731g-1,040a-1,771pts) for sole-possession of fifth-place on the NHL’s point-scoring list. Ron Francis (549g-1,249a-1,798pts) is fourth. Jagr appeared in his 1,515th game January 8 at Boston and passed Yzerman for 14th all-time. Brendan Shanahan (1,524) is 13th. With 202 power play goals, Jagr has tied Yzerman for 15th-place; Wayne Gretzky is next on the list with 204 PPG. He extended his NHL records with his 127th GWG January 3 & the 19 OT goal of his career on October 25 at Ottawa. Jagr recorded three shots on goal on December 2 at Pittsburgh to pass passed Al MacInnis (5,157) for third-place in NHL history.
HATS OFF TO JAROMIR: On January 3 vs. Philadelphia, Jaromir Jagr scored the 15th hat trick of his NHL career. At 42 years, 322 days, Jagr became the oldest player in NHL history to post a hat trick. Gordie Howe previously held the record, notching his final three-goal game at 41 years, 216 days on November 2, 1969. Jagr’s hat trick came 23 years, 11 months and one day after his first on February 2, 1991, which is the longest gap between a player’s first and final hat tricks. Howe previously held the record; his last three-goal game came 19 years, 264 days after his first one (on February 11, 1950). credit Elias Sports Bureau
GOMEZ CLOSING IN ON HOLIK: Scott Gomez, who signed a new contract with New Jersey on December 1, made his season debut on December 2 at Pittsburgh and became the 25th player in Devils’ history to be re-acquired and see action with the team. Gomez ranks sixth in Devils’ history with 120g-346a-466pts; Bobby Holik (202g-270a-472pts) is fifth. He posted the 338th assist of his Devils’ career on December 15 at the New York Islanders to pass Scott Stevens (337a) for sole-possession fourth-place in team history; John MacLean (354a) is fourth. He previously recorded 2a on December 8 at Carolina to tie/surpass Kirk Muller (335a) for fifth-place on New Jersey’s all-time list.
CORY’S NUMBER ONE:Cory Schneider ranks first with a 2.12 goals-against average (2nd, Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick & Tuukka Rask, 2.19) and a .926 save-percentage (2nd, Rask, .925) among goaltenders that have played in at least 100 games since the start of 2010-11. Schneider finished his first season in New Jersey with a 1.97 GAA, which ranked third in the NHL and first among goaltenders who appeared in at least 35 games. Schneider posted the third-best single-season GAA in franchise history behind Martin Brodeur’s 1996-97 (1.88 GAA) and 1997-98 (1.89 GAA) campaigns.
QUICK STRIKE: Steve Bernier,Martin Havlat andMike Cammalleri all scored in a span of 68 seconds in the second period of New Jersey’s 5-3 win at Los Angeles on January 14. It was the third-fastest three goals in Devils history: November 23, 1991, Kevin Todd, Peter Stastny and Douglas Brown, 0:42 of 2nd period, 5-5 tie at Philadelphia; and February 16, 1985, Tim Higgins, Uli Hiemer and Phil Russel, 0:42 of 2nd period, 6-3 win at Toronto. credit Elias Sports Bureau
THAT’S A FIRST:Keith Kinkaid (26 saves + 3/3 SO) earned the first win of his NHL career on December 19 vs. Tampa Bay. He became the first goaltender to win his first NHL game as a Devil since Scott Clemmensen (January 20, 2004 at Pittsburgh). Kinkaid also became the first goaltender in NHL history to have each of his first three starts go to the shootout.
ZUBRUS PLAYS IN 1,200TH GAME:Dainius Zubrus appeared in his 1,200th game on December 31, becoming just the 102nd player in NHL history to do so. He made his NHL debut as the youngest player in Flyers’ franchise history (18 years, 3 months & 19 days) on October 5, 1996 vs. Florida and scored a goal that night vs. former Devil John Vanbiesbrouck. Zubrus has played 513 games with the Devils entering tonight, the most among the five NHL teams he’s skated for, followed by Washington (331), Philadelphia (200), Montreal (139) and Buffalo (19).
500 CLUB: Andy Greene skated in his 500th game with New Jersey on November 28 vs. Detroit, becoming the eighth defenseman/25th player in team history to reach the milestone. Dainius Zubrus appeared in his 500th game with the Devils on November 21 at Edmonton, becoming the 24th player in franchise history to do so.
SCHNEIDER ESTABLISHES NEW FRANCHISE RECORD: Cory Schneider started 20 consecutive games from October 9-November 21 at Edmonton, the longest streak to begin a season in Devils’ history (Martin Brodeur, 19, October 6-November 2, 2001). (credit Elias Sports Bureau)
CZECH IT OUT: Jaromir Jagr (714g-1,066a-1,780pts), Patrik Elias (399g-605a-1,004pts) are the two highest-scoring players from the Czech Republic in NHL history, while Martin Havlat (241g-351a-592pts) ranks third among active players and 14th all-time. Marek Zidlicky is fourth among all Czech defensemen with 82g-305a-387pts and 27th overall.
Patrik Elias needs one goal to reach 400 in his NHL career.
Elias needs six games to reach 1,200 in his NHL career.
Mark Fraser needs six games played to reach 200 in his NHL career.
Eric Gelinas needs five games played to reach 100 in his NHL career.
Martin Havlat needs eight points to reach 600 in his NHL career.
Tuomo Ruutu needs six assists to reach 200 in his NHL career.
Travis Zajac needs eight games to reach 600 in his NHL career.
Stephen Gionta (I.R., broken hand, 11 games missed) is out.
Damon Severson (I.R., left ankle, 17 games missed) is out.
Bryce Salvador (I.R., lower body, 34 games missed) is out.
Ryane Clowe (I.R., hit to head, 36 games missed) is out.
Total man-games lost to injury/illness: 218.
January 28 – Tuomo Ruutu was activated from Injured Reserve.
January 27 – Tim Sestito cleared waivers/was assigned to Albany (AHL).
January 20 – Joe Whitney was assigned to Alb.
January 14 – Eric Gelinas was activated from Injured Reserve; Tuomo Ruutu was placed on I.R. Forward Joseph Blandisi (Barrie, OHL) was signed to an entry-level contract.
January 13 – Seth Helgeson was assigned to Alb.; Joe Whitney was recalled.