Game Preview: Panthers v Devils
After a tough few battles between the sides, tonight is the last time that the Panthers and Devils will meet this regular season.
Devils hold an unassailable series lead of 5-2 after going undefeated at home and bagging a 2-1 win in Nottingham in early December.
However, those wins in Nottingham have been some of the best quality games of the season and this could prove to be so again.
Getting a win in the final encounter might not have a huge impact on the series between the teams, but if the teams meet in the post-season, could it give a momentum boost to tonight's winners?
Showdowns this season
When the Panthers earned that 7-4 win, that was their first meeting with the Devils at home of the season.
Goals from Derlago, Sauve, Gagnon, Perlini, Lachowicz, Lindhagen and Farmer earned the Panthers one of their most impressive domestic performances of the season.
The next time the Devils came to town, they had revenge on their mind and a narrow 2-1 win for the Welsh side, with Zack Phillips getting the Panthers only goal as part of a late and dangerous push for the points.
Nottingham and Cardiff wouldn't meet again until January, and the final scoreline of 5-2 doesn't reflect what was a very close and entertaining game of hockey.
Devils got three goals in two minutes in the first period to make it very tough to pull the game back for Nottingham.
Betteridge and Brown, through a short handed goal, made it 4-2 going into the final period with the Panthers boasting the momentum, but they couldn't make it count and the Devils sealed another win.
Since then, the sides have traded wins with Nottingham earning a 6-4 win for another barnstormer of a game which saw the Panthers rush out to a four goal lead in the opening period and never look back.
However, the Devils took the first truly one sided win of the season, dominating the Panthers for two period on their way to a 7-3 win in Cardiff.
Will the Devils take another win in Nottingham? Or can the Panthers defend the Motorpoint Arena one final time from a Welsh invasion?
According to Panthers forward Jeff Brown, talking to Panthers Radio with Xynomix, Nottingham does have a recipe for taking on the defending champions, as proved by the two big wins they already hold.
Jeff said it's all about taking the game to the Devils and hounding their defenseman who, when the Panthers have been able to turn the game into a shootout, have proved fallible.
In terms of on the ice, the Panthers will be missing a few key figures, with Dan Spang and Evan Mosey both missing the action.
This also means that fans will be waiting until faceoff to see who will line up between the posts for Nottingham.
Game Approaching Sellout
There are less than 300 tickets left in the bowl for Panthers fans.
Block 1 has been opened for home fans to accomodate the interest, therefore we would urge Devils fans to buy in advance to avoid disappointment when you travel!
Even for home fans, the ability to buy tickets on the door is coming into doubt so we would highly recommend buying in advance.
If you do want to buy on the door, be sure to get down early to avoid the queues and potential disappointment!