Hurricanes Record: 10-10-5 (25 pts.)
Devils Record: 9-11-5 (23 pts.)
I hope everyone in our Canes Country readership who celebrates such things had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am thankful that this year I have a post-holiday game preview to write and not this.
There's an old adage that the reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more, and the Hurricanes will put that to the test tonight as they face the New Jersey Devils for the second time in 48 hours. The Hurricanes defeated the Devils 4-3 on Wednesday night in Newark. It was a hotly contested game that saw the visitors jump out to a commanding 4-1 lead before a third-period onslaught from the Devils challenged the Canes to respond with strong team defense and other-worldly goaltending (let's watch that save again) until the final buzzer.
The loss was the third straight for the Devils, and they can be expected to come out of the gates trying to change their course tonight. There are great post-game quotes about the Canes' game from the Devils players and coach Pete DeBoer in Tom Gulitti's Fire and Ice blog [link] in the New Jersey Record. Both DeBoer and Jaromir Jagr commented to the defensive effort they faced, from Cam Ward's ten-bell saves to shot blocking to shots taken by the defense.
"They were blocking all night long," said right wing Jaromir Jagr, who scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season and the 691st of his career, moving him ahead of Mario Lemieux into sole possession of ninth place all time. "We just have to find to put it through it, like they do. They shoot it quickly. They don't hold the puck. Their defense shoots right away. You don't shoot to score from the blue line. You shoot just to direct it and that's what they did.
"They scored three goals like that and we didn't. We had one. That was the difference."
Cory Schneider was vocally disappointed about not getting the start in net Wednesday, and with Martin Brodeur giving up four goals on 22 shots, Schneider will likely get the start tonight. The Devils held a limited practice yesterday before traveling to Raleigh, so there is no other information about possible line-up changes.
The Hurricanes took the day off as well, and will practice this morning at 10:30 am. Unless there are unknown circumstances (injuries, etc.) it is unlikely there will be significant changes to Wednesday's line-up, as the Hurricanes demonstrated a balanced performance between the offensive lines, defensive pairings, and netminding.
Eric Staal is on a seven-game points streak, Tuomo Ruutu has goals in two straight games, and on-fire Patrick Dwyer has goals in three straight games. Justin Faulk and Manny Malhotra have points in two straight. With two assists Wednesday night, Andrej Sekera leads the team in multi-point games with four, and has five points in his last two games.
Check out a great article from Mike Maniscalco on some of the unsung moves by the Hurricanes organization that have paid off in a big way so far this season.
It's Black Friday, and the Canes will be in their black alternate jerseys tonight. We'll have the game thread ready to roll at 6:30 pm. See you at the rink.