The first-round NHL Playoff series between the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers may not draw the most television eye balls, but it could be one of the most competitive series. The Devils, the No. 6 seed, made the playoffs despite playing in the Eastern Conference's very though Atlantic Division, while the No. 3-seeded Panthers won the Southeast Division despite not having a lot of firepower.
Somehow, the New Jersey advanced onto the postseason after having a mediocre season from future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur. A lot the success can be contributed the play of high-priced star Ilya Kovalchuk (83 points), veteran Patrick Elias (78 points) and Zach Parise (69 points).
Winger David Clarkson chipped in 30 goals, while also compiling 138 penalty minutes, and Calder Trophy candidate Adam Henrique was one of the league's top rookies with 51 points
Meanwhile, the Panthers could be the best story of the NHL's regular season. Florida features a mish-mash of that was well coached by Kevin Dineen.
The Panthers have a solid collection of blue-liners in defensemen Brian Campbell (53 points), Jason Garrison (16 goals) and Dimitry Kulikov (28 points in only 58 games), but they did end the regular season losing five of their last six games.
Here's a look at the series schedule and TV coverage:
|Friday, April 13||7 p.m.||New Jersey at Florida||NHL Network, TSN|
|Sunday, April 15||7:30 p.m.||New Jersey at Florida||NBC Sports Network, TSN|
|Tuesday, April 17||7 p.m.||Florida at New Jersey||NHL Network, TSN|
|Thursday, April 19||7 p.m.||Florida at New Jersey||NHL Network, TSN|
|*Saturday, April 21||6:30 p.m.||New Jersey at Florida||NHL Network, TSN|
|*Tuesday, April 24||TBD||Florida at New Jersey||TBD|
|*Thursday, April 26||TBD||New Jersey at Florida||TBD|