During the regular season, the New Jersey Devils were eight points and 43 goals better than the Florida Panthers, but they had the misfortune of playing in the Atlantic Division. They're the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, and they're the heavy favorites to advance against the No. 3 seed Florida Panthers. To stay heavy favorites, they're going to have to get an away split and win one of the first two games in the series.
The two teams split the season series 2-2 with the Devils needing a shootout to prevail on one occasion, but the teams' goal differentials and recent performances make the Devils look like stronger favorites than the head-to-head indicates they should be. New Jersey is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, while Florida is 2-3-5.
No. 6 New Jersey Devils at No. 3 Florida Panthers
7:30 p.m. ET -- Game 1, Eastern Conference Quarterfinals | Series tied, 0-0
National TV: NHLN, TSN, RDS | Local TV: MSG Plus, FOX Sports Florida
For more on the Panthers, check out Florida Panthers blog Litter Box Cats. For more on the Devils, head over to New Jersey Devils blog In Lou We Trust. We'll have coverage of every playoff series at SB Nation's NHL Hub.