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Playoff matchups: Devils are likely favorites against Panthers

Apr 7, 2012, 10:12 PM EDT

New Jersey Devils v Florida Panthers Getty Images

The Florida Panthers won their first-ever Southeast Division title tonight, earning themselves a surprise third seed. That will give the surprise upstart from Sunrise home ice advantage in the first round, but many will probably choose the sixth seed New Jersey Devils as the odds-on favorite. There are plenty of reasons to think that way, but here are a few:

  • The Devils carry virtually all of the biggest names in this series, from Martin Brodeur to Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise.
  • New Jersey finished this season with a +19 goal differential; Florida’s -24 is by far the worst of any playoff team (in fact, it’s fifth-worst in the East).
  • Sure, the Devils feasted on three-point games in their own right (12 shootout wins), but that’s nothing compared to Florida milking 18 charity points out of this season.

And that’s just the simplest stuff.

Still, the two teams tied their season series 2-2, so it’s not like New Jersey dominated Florida in 2011-12. Oh yeah, there’s also an interesting storyline for those who always want to find a juicy narrative: former Panthers coach Peter DeBoer sits behind the Devils bench. Surely he’d enjoy a little revenge on the team that didn’t give him a great chance to succeed, wouldn’t he?

  1. scottfmullin - Apr 7, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    And Panther fans would also like to get back at DeBoer too for being such a sourpuss.

  2. rawgator06 - Apr 8, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    One major boost in the panthers direction…no bloody shootouts. It seems like every week I watched a Panthers SO loss…

  3. tonyseesred - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    I am really excited about this match up. the regular season series was very fun to watch and you can surely bet this playoff series will be even better. Cant say the 3rd seed was a SURPRISE. We did lead the division for over 2/3rd of the season. Id say the Panthers and their fans have expected to win the division for quite a while now. And as far as all those SO losses go… yes it proves that the panthers are not a highly SKILLED team but it also says that you can bet your sweet ass that they are always a tough team to play that can do a hell of a lot of damage. The makeup of this team is great, a lot of players who have had a lot of success. Maybe they are the surprise team to make a run at the cup this year ;) Oh and the series wasnt tied…the Cats won it..2-1-1.

  4. phinfan527 - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Devs in 5.

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