The Time: 7:00 PM EST
The Program: TV – MSG+2; Radio – The One Jersey Network, WFAN
The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (27-34-12) vs. the Carolina Hurricanes (32-27-13 SBN; Canes Country)
The Last Devils Game: On the 23rd, the Devils fell to the Maple Leafs 4-2. John Moore scored both the Devils goals, first off a simple looking shot and the second off of a shot from the point on the power-play. However, Toronto was the better team tonight. Joshua Leivo started the scoring for the Devils, with a misplay by Kinkaid leading to the puck bouncing in the front of the net for Leivo to tuck in. William Nylander then scored on a 4-on-4, using his patience to get the puck by Kinkaid. The third goal came off a shot from Marner, which rebounded directly to Van Riemsdyk to put into the net. Connor Brown scored on an empty net, off an unselfish pass from Leo Komarov, and the Maple Leafs won 4-2.
The Last Hurricanes Game; On the same day as the Devils game, the Hurricanes beat the Canadiens 4-1, with the Hurricanes on a hot streak. The Canadiens nearly scored off a 2-on-1 from Petry and Galchenyuk to start the game, but Derek Ryan slid down to block Galchenyuk from scoring into the empty net. Galchenyuk wouldn’t miss on a second 2-on-1 however, this time featuring Andrew Shaw, putting the puck past Ward and in. Later in the game, on a Carolina power-play, Aho, Teravainen and Lindholm connected on a power-play, giving Lindholm an empty net to deposit the puck into and giving him points in 9 straight games. Old friend Lee Stempniak then somehow got a backhander which seemed to surprise Price by him, giving the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead. Lee Stempniak then scored his second of the game, off a 2-on-1 feed, to make it 3-1. Skinner then hit Jeff Petry down in his own zone, and scored into the empty net to make it 4-1 and another Carolina win.
The Last Hurricanes Devils Game: On January 3rd, the Devils beat the Hurricanes 3-1. The Devils goals were scored by Adam Henrique, Michael Cammalleri and Kyle Palmieri. The lone Hurricanes goal was scored by Sebastian Aho. Adam Henrique scored off a centering pass, to make it a 1-0 lead. Cammalleri then slapped a shot which somehow got by Ward, making it 2-0 in the 3rd. Aho then scored off a quick reaction, reacting to a slap-shot from the point and sliding it past Schneider to make it 2-1. Palmieri then iced the game for the Devils however, putting it into the empty net to end it at 3-1. Cory Schneider saved the game for the Devils, making 29 saves on 30 shots.
The Goal: The Hurricanes are one of the hottest teams in the league at the moment, so the Devils and whatever goalie they choose to start need to withstand the storm, and try to survive off whatever the Hurricanes throw. The Devils youth will need to step up, and lead the lines if the Devils want to have any chance to win. Look for players like Pavel Zacha, John Quenneville and Miles Wood to step up if the Devils want any chance of winning.
Also, if anything, I’d like to see Kyle Palmier score again. He has an outside chance of reaching 30 goals, and he’s been the hottest Devil by far. While Adam Henrique has disappointed, Kyle Palmieri has proven himself a legitimate scorer and leader for this Devils offense.
Recent NHL Transactions: Nick Lappin has been sent to the AHL again. After a good start to his NHL career, he appears to have stagnated, and his future in the NHL is now in question.
While not news for now, or the near future, the Hurricanes have signed a draft pick of theirs, Janne Kuokkanen.
Speaking of draft picks, it’s becoming increasingly unknown as to whether Alex Kerfoot will sign with the Devils following the conclusion of his college career. He recently gave an interview to a Vancouver radio station, in which he described it as being a dream to play for the Canucks, but mentioning that his main priority is New Jersey.
Ones To Watch - Hurricanes: The Hurricanes have two forwards who have over 20 goals — Jeff Skinner with 29 and Sebastian Aho with 21. Youngsters Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm and Teuvo Teravainen all sit around the 40 point mark, with veterans Jordan Staal and Lee Stempniak also sitting around that mark.
Defenseman Justin Faulk is, yet again, the Hurricanes leading defenseman. He has 14 goals and 17 assists on the year, but with a -13 rating. Jaccob Slavin is actually tying Faulk in terms of points, but with significantly less goals. On the other hand, however, Slavin has a +20 rating on the year.
So...: 9 games left.
Let me know what you guys think about this game in the comments below. Score predictions, ideas about the future, and general tangents are all welcome. Thank you for reading, and let’s go Devils!