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Game Preview #39: Devils at Hurricanes

Two division rivals face off for the third time this season, with the Devils having won the last two meetings.

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (15-16-7) vs. the Carolina Hurricanes (16-13-7; SBN Blog: Canes Country)

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+; Radio - 660 AM & 101.9 FM WFAN; Digital Audio – The One Jersey Network

The Last Devils Game: The Devils won 3-0 against the Bruins, and are now perfect in 2017! Sigh. Sarcasm aside, the Devils actually played pretty well against the Bruins. The first goal came off a bunch of bad luck in hitting the post, and then PA Parenteau finally sliding the puck into an open net for the 1-0 lead. The second goal came off Kalinin getting a puck from Miles Wood, and kicking the puck to his stick, and making it 2-0. The third goal ended Taylor Hall’s goalless drought, and iced the game 3-0. The recap can be found here.

The Last Hurricanes Game: On the final day of 2016, the Hurricanes fell to the Lightning 3-1. Brian Boyle scored the first goal off a rebound from a Victor Hedman shot to start off the scoring. Near the end of the 1st period, Jonathan Drouin capitalized on a 5-on-3, shooting a wrister by Ward for a 2-0 lead. Killorn made it 3-0 in the third off a feed from Matthew Peca, Peca’s first career NHL point. The Hurricanes got one back on a breakaway from Sebastian Aho, but the game would end 3-1. A touching moment was that with 7 seconds left, the Hurricanes put in their equipment manager, Jorge Alves, into the net to make his NHL debut. Alves had this opportunity due to an injury to Eddie Lack. Here’s the recap from Canes Country.

The Goal: Win maybe? I’m just kidding (Kind of), but I do expect the Devils to try to play well. This season is pretty much lost for the Devils, but the Devils could still try to build value on some potential trade candidates (PA Parenteau, Kyle Quincey). It’d be preferable for the Devils to start playing their young guys also — Take out Luke Gazdic and put in Reid Boucher please? I’m still confused as to why Gazdic is even still playing games for this team. Carolina is 6th in the league with a 52.2% CF%, suggesting they’re playing better than their record suggests. Carolina’s been pretty good as of late, having gone 6-3-1 in their last 10. The Devils have been awful for the past month - out of a possible 30 points, they only got 10 points.

Also, do better on the power play. After going 0-9 against the Capitals, the Devils went 0-6 against the Bruins as well. The Capitals and Bruins are 2nd and 3rd respectably on the penalty kill, and the Hurricanes are 1st, so the power play cold streak might not end today.

Boucher’s Back: Speaking of Reid Boucher, the Devils claimed him back off waivers from the Predators yesterday. In three games with the Predators, he recorded a single goal, and averaged less than 10 minutes of ice time a game. Although he hasn’t performed up to standard, and has been often scratched this year, I wasn’t happy when he was claimed off waivers. Besides, better him than Gazdic on the ice. I don’t know if he’ll play against the Hurricanes, but I’m hoping he does. His one goal for Nashville was pretty impressive — he outmuscled Jared Spurgeon, and proceeded to backhand a goal through Dubnyk’s five-hole.

Wood You Look at That: After a truly terrible game against the Capitals, Miles Wood showed what made him so well-perceived on the second goal against the Bruins. His incredible speed led to him getting by the Bruins defenseman, and feeding a pass to Kalinin, who scored. On the year, he only has four goals and an assist, but his assets are invaluable to this Devils team. The line of Lappin - Wood - Kalinin fits well together, although the stats may not show so. Lappin, with his work-hard mentality, Wood, with his blazing speed, and Kalinin, with his muscle, work well together as a 3rd line.

Kinkaid or Schneider?: Kinkaid was playing incredibly until the last Washington game. Schneider played really well against Boston. After the fiasco with Kinkaid playing back-to-back, I doubt the Devils will take the risk with Schneider twice in a row.

Your Thoughts?: How do you guys think we’ll do against a pretty good Hurricanes team. May 2017 continue being wonderful, and have a good day!