Elite League preview: Panthers bid to derail the Devils

Nottingham Panthers will look to put a dent in Cardiff Devils’ title hopes as they face the current Elite League leaders at the National Ice Centre on Saturday.

The two teams met in Cardiff last week with the Devils running out comfortable 5-0 winners, but Panthers’ boss Corey Neilson thinks it will be a different story back on home ice.

“Cardiff were excellent in Cardiff. We were down and I don’t think it’s a true representation of how we’ve played against them overall,” he told the Nottingham Post.

“I don’t think we were really that bad. They were excellent. We didn’t have any life to break through.”

The Panthers head to Fife the following day as second favourites on the bet365 android app and Neilson believes his team face a tough task getting the better of Flyers’ in-form netminder Shane Owen.

“It’s a tough trip – it’s always hard to get a fair shake there in terms of refereeing,” he added.

“It depends on who you get. We’ve got to find a way to score on that goalie – he’s an elite level performer.”

Fife forward Matt Sisca says team spirit amongst the Flyers’ squad is high, despite losses against Braehead Clan and Cardiff last weekend.

The Flyers had been on a good run going into those games and Sisca believes they are capable of bouncing back in this weekend’s home double-header against Edinburgh Capitals and Nottingham.

“Since Christmas we’ve been the hottest team in the league so we can’t put our heads down,” Sisca told Fife Today.

“We can’t think about losing our last two – before that we’d won eight in ten so we’re still a hot team.

“A two-game losing streak doesn’t make us cold. We just need to flip things around again and pick up points this coming weekend.

“We have such a good group of guys – you see Chris Wands score that goal against Cariff and the whole building erupts and the whole bench goes crazy.

“That’s how tight we are in this group and for a guy like that to score a goal like that is just amazing. It’s great playing for this club with all its history, and we want to bring home some hardware for the fans.”

Edinburgh forward Taylor MacDougall says it’s time for the team to start delivering results if they’re to climb off the bottom of the table.

The Capitals are five points adrift of ninth-placed Dundee Stars with two games in hand, and with the two teams set to meet on Friday McDougall believes they can catch their Scottish rivals.

“This time of the year is all about results and getting the two points each game, especially in the spot we’re in,” he told freshair.org.

“We’re certainly in a results-based business now and doing the right things and maybe not getting the result isn’t good enough, so we’ve got to regroup.

“There are positives (from our recent performances) to take but we’ve got to find a way to get it done.

“We’re not used to scoreboard watching, so we just worry about ourselves. What will happen away from us will happen away from us, we’re just going to focus on ourselves and the games we are playing right now.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Dundee Stars v Edinburgh Capitals

Saturday

Braehead Clan v Belfast Giants
Fife Flyers v Edinburgh Capitals
Manchester Storm v Coventry Blaze
Nottingham Panthers v Cardiff Devils
Sheffield Steelers v Dundee Stars

Sunday

Cardiff Devils v Manchester Storm
Coventry Blaze v Sheffield Steelers
Edinburgh Capitals v Belfast Giants
Fife Flyers v Nottingham Panthers

(Image permission: Karl Denham)

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