Can the Canes rebound from a home loss to the Habs and will they show up for all three periods tonight?
Carolina Hurricanes vs New Jersey Devils
Saturday, March 9, 2013 - 7:00 pm EST
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
TV - FOX Sports Carolinas Radio - 99.9 The Fan
SB Nation Devils Blog: In Lou We Trust (twitter @InLouWeTrust)
Hurricanes Record: 13-9-1 (27 pts, 1st in Southeast Divison)
Devils Record: 11-8-5 (27 pts, 2nd in Atlantic Division)
Tonight the Hurricanes welcome a familiar foe to the PNC, the New Jersey Devils. This is the second meeting of three and the first of two in Raleigh. On February 12th, the Canes used a surprisingly effective PP, going 2 for 5 and pulling out the 4-2 victory against one of the hotter team's in the league at the time. Jiri Tlusty had 2 goals, Eric Staal and Justin Faulk each registered 2 assists.
Both teams come into this game, each having recent streaks broken on Thursday night. The Hurricanes lost at home to the Montreal Canadians snapping their four-game winning streak. It was a game of highs and lows for the Canes and a game that saw all 6 goals scored at the north end of the ice. The Devils entered Thursday night on a season high six-game losing streak. But after falling behind 2-0, Patrik Elias tied it with just over a minute left and then put the nail in the coffin in the S/O to beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2.
The Hurricanes are looking to get back to their winning ways and Coach Muller is hoping to see a full 60 minutes of effort. While the top line had some good scoring chances on Thursday, Carey Price held them off the score sheet for only the 5th time all season. They will look to reverse their fortune against a struggling Johan Hedberg. Hedberg only has a .863 save percentage over his past 5 games and only has 1 win. It will be up to Carolina to continue putting pressure on Hedberg by putting a lot of shots on goal.
At the moment, its still up in the air as to whom the Canes goalie will be for tonight's game. Neither Dan Ellis or Justin Peters has a lot of experience against the Devils. Ellis is 0-1-0 with a 2.91 GAA in 2 career games against the Devils. Peters has posted a 1-0-0 with a 2.03 GAA in one appearance and is 1-1-0 with a 3.53 GAA in his 2 games this season. Whichever one takes the reigns, a key for them and the Carolina defense will be to keep an eye on Ilya Kovalchuk. In 57 games against Carolina, Kovalchuk has netting 35 goals and 71 points.
The Canes lineup might look at little different tonight. Joni Pitkanen (lower body), Chad LaRose (concussion), Tuomo Ruutu (hip) and Cam Ward (knee) will be out and Brett Sutter and Jeremy Welsh were returned to Charlotte. Tim Brent was activated from the IR and Chris Terry was recalled from Charlotte, so expect both in the lineup tonight. It appears that Riley Nash will miss another game due to an illness.
The Devils will look to make it two in row and take advantage of whichever goalie plays for the Hurricanes tonight. Elias and Adam Henrique are sporting two-game goal streaks and Kovalchuk has assists in two straight. Nothing has been coming easy for New Jersey as of late, but they do have PP goals in two straight and are 2 for 5 in those games. The Devils will also be looking for some revenge for earlier this season.
I would expect that Hedberg would get the start for New Jersey. He is 13-8-2 with a 2.75 GAA in 27 games all-time versus Carolina. The game will also feature three former Canes; Alexei Ponikarovsky, Ryan Carter and Tom Kostopoulos. Ponikarovsky has 1 goal and 3 assists in 11 games for New Jersey this season. Carter has 2 goals and 7 assists on the season and has 4 assists in his past 4 games. Kostopoulos was just recently picked up off the waiver wire, only playing in 1 game this season and has yet to register any points.
On the injury front; Henrik Tallinder (lower body) did not make the trip to Raleigh. Martin Brodeur (back), Mattias Tedenby (face) and Dainius Zubrus are all out and will not play. For more information on the Devils, please check out In Lou We Trust.
The Canes will also hold their 10th annual Military Appreciation Night with military vehicles on display at the South Plaza before the game and members of the armed forces honored throughout the game. They will also wear a special military-themed uniform in warm-ups that will be auctioned off to benefit the USO and the Carolina Hurricanes Kids 'N Community Foundation.