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Game Preview #57: New Jersey Devils vs the Carolina Hurricanes

The Devils pulled off a stunner back in November when they beat the then-red-hot Hurricanes 5-3; can they do it again tonight and take advantage of the Canes recent struggles?

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at New Jersey Devils
Hug your goalie if you had a multi-goal game last night!
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Match-up: New Jersey Devils (21-25-10) vs the Carolina Hurricanes (32-21-3)

The Time: 7 pm

The Network: MSG+

The stats for tonight’s match-up:

Devils Hurricanes

PP% 16.3%/27th 21.9%/10th
PK% 80.6%/16th 82.3%/9th
GF/G 2.7/24th 3.14/13th
GA/G 3.44/30th 2.80/19th
SV% .894/27th .904/15th
HDCF/G 9.9/23rd 12.48/1st
HDCA/G 10.72/19th 11.07/24th

And now for the weather forecast-

Due to recent injuries and player struggles, the Carolina Hurricanes have been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Injury report for Carolina coming into tonight’s game —

  • Dougie Hamilton— the top pairing defenseman has been out since late January with a fractured left leg. Hamilton’s injury is a huge blow to Carolina in just about every way. Hamilton averages over 23 minutes of ice time a night and is a huge part of their power play and penalty kills this season. Hamilton was on pace for 70+ points and sitting 7th in the league among defensemen for points per 60.
  • Jordan Martinook— the right wing is a Canes roster staple, generally rounding out the bottom six this season. Martinook hasn’t been the most productive player, most likely still recovering from core muscle surgery earlier this season, but it’s yet another injury the Canes need to deal with and it means replacing him with the recently un-retired Justin Williams.

With the exception of those two, Carolina is mostly healed from the injury bug that has bitten a large majority of the roster this season. With so many injuries, teams need players to step up and play bigger roles in their absence. Unfortunately for the Canes, most players haven’t been able to fill those empty shoes. Many players have stalled offensively, their starting goaltender Petr Mrazek is struggling a bit on and off lately.

One player who has stepped up for the Canes is their 22 year old All-Star, Sebastian Aho. Aho has 52 points in 56 games played so far this season, is tied for 6th in the league in goals with 31 goals and .55gpg, and is storming into tonight’s game on a 7 game point streak. Aho’s line is rounded out with the now-infamous Andrei Svechnikov, re-inventor of the Michigan/lacrosse goal by scoring it for the first and second time ever at the NHL level and also has 52 points in 56 games, and Teuvo Teravainen, who’s sitting at a slightly more comfortable 54 points in 56 games.

Below the top line, however, the Canes offense is relatively stalled as of late. For a more in-depth look at the rosters’ recent struggles from the Canes experts, check out this article from Canes Country.

Expected Lineups:

Svechnikov - Aho - Teravainen
Foegele - Staal - McGinn
Niederreiter - Haula - Necas
Dzingel - Wallmark - Williams

Slavin - van Riemsdyk
Gardiner - Pesce
Fleury - Edmundson

As the Devils are heading to Carolina on the second half of a back to back, their lineup is unlikely to change much from last night’s game (unless Nico Hischier is able to make the trip, but haven’t heard anything on that front).

Bratt - Hughes - Palmieri
Coleman - Zajac - Gusev
Wood - Zacha - Simmonds
Hayden - Rooney - Anderson (could see Nick Merkley on this line)

Greene - Subban
Butcher - Severson
Mueller - Carrick

How are we feeling heading into tonight’s game, especially after the almost disaster of last night? Obviously those first two periods were atrocious, but I’m at least pleased with the way they responded in the third. Yes, it was against Detroit, but it’s still a positive sign that Nasreddine was able to hand the team a verbal beatdown during the intermission and get things back on track. That ability to reset and correct the path is something that was severely lacking earlier in the season.

Your Take: Positives thoughts heading into tonight? Concerns? Predictions? Winning lottery numbers? Leave it all in the comments, and thanks for reading!