The New Jersey Devils are brimming with confidence after beating the league’s top two teams over the weekend.
The Florida Panthers are hoping to achieve a similar feeling as they continue a tough stretch of games Tuesday night against the Atlantic Division-leading Devils.
New Jersey (37-17-3) proved it can win both low-scoring defensive contests and high-scoring offensive affairs following an impressive weekend sweep.
After defeating Eastern Conference-leading Boston 1-0 on Friday, the Devils beat West-leading San Jose 6-5 on Sunday.
“This shows the versatility and the confidence level that this team has in each other,” said goaltender Scott Clemmensen, who stopped 27 shots Sunday after posting a shutout in each of his previous two starts. “It also shows we can adapt and respond to adversity. These are all character building blocks we have in place that show how we get wins against different teams, different styles, no matter what.”
Langenbrunner scored his 18th goal and has 10 goals and five assists in his last 10 games. Parise had two assists against the Sharks to give him four goals and four assists during New Jersey’s four-game winning streak.
The Devils, who have won 13 of 15 to open an eight-point lead over second-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic, are also in the midst of a seven-game road winning streak, their longest since reeling off 10 straight road victories Feb. 27-April 7, 2001.
New Jersey, which opens a three-game road trip Tuesday, is 12-3-0 at Florida (28-20-8) since the 2000-01 season.
The Devils won both of their two meetings of the season thus far with the Panthers in November. Clemmensen, who is 10-2-0 with a 2.16 goals-against average since Jan. 13, was in goal for both games, stopping 59-of-62 shots.
Florida is coming off Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Southeast-leading Washington, just its third defeat in 10 games since the All-Star break.
The Panthers are seventh in the East and hoping to string together a couple of victories this week to make a push for their first playoff appearance since 1999-2000.
Florida’s schedule doesn’t get any easier, though. After playing New Jersey, the Panthers host Chicago on Thursday and Northeast-leading Boston on Saturday.
“We had an opportunity to get a point, but we didn’t get it and we’ve got to bounce back because we’ve got a tough week,” Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said.
Nathan Horton scored his 16th goal Sunday for Florida, which is also hoping to get out of its mini-offensive funk. The Panthers have scored four goals in their last two games after tallying 10 in their previous two.
Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves Sunday after posting a 1.61 GAA in winning his previous three starts. He was in net for each game against the Devils this season, but was pulled following the first period in Florida’s 3-2 overtime loss on Nov. 26 after allowing two goals on 12 shots.
The Panthers are 3-5-2 versus New Jersey since the start of the 2006-07 season.