Florida vs. New Jersey Pick & Prediction JANUARY 13th 2024

The Florida Panthers, who have won nine straight games, will try to make it a perfect 10 Saturday night when the New Jersey Devils visit Sunrise.

Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk said his team is laser focused.

“The only thing on our minds is to try to make it 10 in a row,” Tkachuk said.

Sam Reinhart, who leads the Panthers with 30 goals, scored with 0.7 seconds left in overtime on Thursday night as Florida defeated the visiting Los Angeles Kings 3-2.

It’s Reinhart’s third straight 30-goal season but he is actually on pace for 60.

“Nothing surprises me anymore with him,” Tkachuk said of Reinhart. “He’s the real deal. He’s been playing amazing.”

The same can be said about goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who made five high-danger saves on Thursday. Bobrovsky was tied for second in the NHL in wins (21-9-1, 2.43 goals-against average) entering Friday’s games.

“He kind of looks like he’s been looking, right?” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said when asked about Bobrovsky. “He’s patient and efficient. He’s explosive.”

Maurice also had some thoughts on Reinhart, who has 12 goals during Florida’s nine-game winning streak.

“His shot placement is so good,” Maurice said. “He’s been doing it for so long …”

The Devils hope to ride the momentum from last season’s first-round playoff series win over the New York Rangers. It was New Jersey’s first playoff series win in 11 years.

The Devils, after recording just the second 50-win season in franchise history, are seen as a team on the rise.

However, New Jersey started the weekend out of a playoff position, and a lot of that has to do with a rash of injuries.

The Devils have lost two straight games, matching how long Jack Hughes has been out due to an upper-body injury. He is expected to be out again on Saturday.

Hughes, the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, is New Jersey’s biggest standout. He has earned three straight All-Star berths, including in 2024, and he is coming off last season’s career highs in goals (43) and points (99). The 99 points set a Devils record.

Other key Devils injuries include wingers Timo Meier, Tomas Nosek and Ondrej Palat; and top-pair defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Jonas Siegenthaler. Hamilton, who did not miss a game last season and had a career-high 74 points, is especially missed.

Thursday, the Devils put up a fight before losing 4-3 in overtime to the host Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I think we played a solid game,” Devils forward Jesper Bratt said. “It sucks to not get the two points.”

Hughes and Bratt lead the Devils in assists (30) and points (45). Tyler Toffoli tops the Devils in goals (16). Dawson Mercer (13 goals) and captain Nico Hischier (11 goals) become even more important with Hughes on the injured list.

On defense, Luke Hughes – Jack’s little brother – is having an impressive rookie season at 20-years-old with seven goals and 16 assists.

New Jersey’s top goalie is Vitek Vanecek, who is 14-7-2 with a 3.31 goals-against average.

When the Devils are right, they are one of the faster teams in the league. They finished tied for fourth in the league last season with 3.52 goals per game.

But with Hughes and the others out, it will be a tough challenge to try to stop the red-hot Panthers.

– Field Level Media

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