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Series at a Glance
Devils and Panthers deserve each other
Posted: Wednesday April 12, 2000 06:28 PM
Scott Niedermayer will miss Game 1 because of his suspension for whacking Peter Worrell. Steve Babineau/Allsport
By Jamie MacDonald, CNNSI.com
On the morning of Jan. 18, the Devils owned a record of 28-13-5. The Panthers,
coming off a five-game winning streak, were 27-14-3. Each team led its division.
Then the wheels came off.
Florida would wait until mid-March before winning more than two consecutive
games. The dog days also hit the Devils, though they ran off a few wins toward
the end of January before going 14-16-3 after the 28th. The Panthers limped home
with a record of 16-19-3 over their final 38 games.
Because Scott Niedermayer took actions into his own hands to level a measure
of vigilante justice to the head of Peter Worrell, these two teams are also
wrapped in a bit of infamy.
In other words, these teams deserve each other.
New Jersey 3, Florida 2
SUNRISE, Fla., Jan. 26 -- Patrik Elias extended his franchise-high points
streak to 14 games when he picked off a weak clearing effort from Robert Svehla
and wristed a shot past Mike Vernon with 3.2 seconds remaining in the game. The
goal was Elias's 20th in 21 games and it gave New Jersey its league-leading 70th
point. Martin Brodeur picked up win No. 30 on the year, becoming the NHL's first
goaltender to do so this season. And it was the first time this season in which
Florida lost a game it led after two periods.
New Jersey 5, Florida 2 |
SUNRISE, Fla., Apr. 3 -- Pavel Bure's 56th and 57th goals paced the Panthers to pick up their fifth win in seven games. New Jersey peppered Mike Vernon with 41 shots, but the former Conn Smythe winner held on for his sixth win in his previous seven starts. Starter Chris Terreri suffered his ninth loss of the season.
Florida 5, New Jersey 2
SUNRISE, Fla., Apr. 3 -- Pavel Bure's 56th and 57th goals paced the
Panthers to pick up their fifth win in seven games. New Jersey peppered Mike
Vernon with 41 shots, but the former Conn Smythe winner held on for his sixth
win in his previous seven starts. Starter Chris Terreri suffered his ninth loss
of the season.
New Jersey 2, Florida 1 |
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Apr. 8 -- In New Jersey's final game of the
regular season, Jason Arnott scored on Mike Vernon only 47 seconds into overtime
to give the Devils 103 points on the season. Vernon lost for the first time
since March 11 and Pavel Bure was held without a point, which snapped his team-
and career-best 13-game streak.
It's payback time
Most consider the playoffs a fight-free zone. Perhaps this will change in
Game 2, when Scott Niedermayer returns from his suspension for whacking Peter
Worrell over the head. Then again, perhaps not. Special teams are so important
in the postseason and players are loath to the idea of handing over power play
chances in the name of settling old scores.
Mike likes it |
Mike Vernon, he of the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe-worthy performance in
1997, was acquired to stop the bleeding when Trevor Kidd went down before the
All-Star break. But when Kidd returned, his playoff auditions were not strong
enough for Terry Murray's liking. So Vernon, who played well down the stretch,
gets the call.
As he as all season, Pavel Bure will be the most sparkling offensive force in this postseason. For a small guy he attacks the net like few big men can. But as mentioned above, his giveaways can be costly.
In 10 games with the Devils, Bure's former linemate Alexander Mogilny has three goals and three assists. But he is still a gifted scorer and he will be counted on for scoring depth. If he doesn't provide it, the Devils postseason ride could be real short once again.
| Pavel Bure || || electrifying, but can't give the puck away |
| Niedermayer family picnics || || The fam can catch both boys at the same venue |
| Jason Arnott || || Scored the team's last three regular-season goals
The Devils will contain Pavel Bure and Patrik Elias will be the series' best offensive player.
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