: News Article:
Panthers Praised in ESPN article: predicted to beat Devils.
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04-09-2012, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Though we matched up well against jersey in the regular season, they have some guys who are big-time players on offense. Guys like Clarkson will play a key role especially. Elias has been there, Sykora as well, Kovalchuk is a terrific player, Parise is also a big time guy. Marty's the biggest factor for them though IMO.
With the way their team is put together, it wouldn't be a shock to me if they were able to go to the east final. They'd be my "underdog" pick out of the east if I had a gun to my head and had to choose.
That said, I think we have some guys who will be very amped up and motivated to do what they can under the lights of playoff hockey. We need our goalie to be hot and we have to make sure we take advantage when we can.
The trio of Goc, Kopecky, and Bergenheim IMO can have a big impact on how we perform. All 3 are experienced and especially Goc and Bergie have a tendency to show up when we need them. Hopefully the first line goes out and scores some goals, but if Goc or Bergie are on the ice and we need an OT or late goal in a 0-0 or 1-1 type of game, they would be the guys I'd pick to get them.
I am a little worried that when it's a tight checking game, Versteeg is going to be smothered. I'd love for him to prove me wrong and fight through it, as he can be fiery and gritty, but I also think that if you hit him hard and consistently, you can take him out of the play easily. If they're physical against us and really take the body on Weiss, Flash, and Steeg, I don't see that line scoring much. The physicality is the biggest difference between the regular season and the playoffs, so how we respond to that will really dictate how far we go. Even guys like Matthias will have a big role, since he's the type of guy who is strong enough to go out there and play well off the cycle and grind it out. We're going to have to do a lot of that to win.
I think we have a shot, no doubt, but I'm perfectly content being the underdogs going into this series and having the talking heads pick Jersey. It's decided on the ice, not in the TV studios.
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