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Devils Alley: Pete DeBoer Faces Former Team Tonight Against Florida

PalIn the final game of a successful five game road trip, the New Jersey Devils will face off against the Florida Panthers in head coach Pete DeBoer's first game against his former team.

DeBoer spent three seasons in Florida, going 103-107-36 before being fired last April. His best season came in 2008-2009, his first full season with the Panthers, when Florida went 41-30-11.

"You kind of pour three years of your life into a job and to walk in the visitors' entrance, I'm sure you go through the same emotions as a traded player," DeBoer told The Record. When asked about if a win would mean more tonight against his former team, he said "one hundred percent. I think that's obvious."

The Devils are 3-1 on the current five game road trip, and they are coming off a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. New Jersey is 6-3 this month and have moved to 10-7-1 on the year.

DeBoer has made some changes to the lineup tonight, adding Rod Pelley to the lineup and making Nick Palmieri a healthy scratch. Here are the projected lines for tonight's game:


Palmieri has struggled a majority of this season despite DeBoer consistently giving him a chance to play, and he now faces the possibility of being sent down to the AHL. The 22 year old forward has only recorded 6 points in 18 games this season, and two of his three goals came in one game.

"I don't think I played well enough last game to be in tonight," Palmieri told The Star-Ledger. "I don't disagree with their decision. Obviously I'm not happy. I want to play."

DeBoer compared to move to making Tedenby a healthy scratch two games ago against Buffalo, saying "You need to take a step back sometimes to take two steps forward. He knows what areas he needs to improve on."

Martin Brodeur will start his third consecutive game tonight over Johan Hedberg, who has not started since the Devils 4-3 loss to Boston on November 15th. Brodeur is 36-14-7 with a 2.00 career GAA against the Panthers, and went 2-0-1 with a 1.97 GAA against them last season.

Brodeur will face Jose Theodore, who is replacing former Devils backup Scott Clemmensen in net tonight as he battles with an injury. Theodore is 7-14 lifetime against the Devils.

The player to watch tonight for the Devils is David Clarkson, who has now scored in three straight games. Clarkson and Carter have been playing consistently well on the third line, and the pairing will hope to continue their success on the final game of the road trip.

Clarkson's success has come on the power play, which has dramatically improved since Ilya Kovalchuk returned to the lineup. New Jersey has scored four powerplay goals in three games (three by Clarkson) and the Devils have improved their success rate with the man advantage to 13.4 percent.

Tonight's game will be broadcasted on MSG+ at 7:30 PM.

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