Instead of the traditional New Year's Eve game, the NHL scheduled something a bit different for the Carolina Hurricanes this season, a New Year's Day affair. Tonight at 7, the Canes (17-15-4) will be taking on the New Jersey Devils, (10-25-2) for their first matchup this season.
The once proud Devils, a club which made the postseason
nine of the last ten 13 straight seasons, suddenly finds itself as the worst team in the NHL, (22 points). The controversial, long term signing of superstar Ilya Kovalchuk seemed to start them on a downward spiral and the injury to number one player, Zach Parise hasn't helped the cause either.
Could Martin Brodeur's age finally be catching up with him?
The team is trying to make changes. Just before Christmas, coach John MacLean was fired and former coach Jacques Lemaire was re-hired to call the shots behind the bench. The club also is trying to get rid of Brian Rolston as they put him on waivers, assigned him to Albany, then put him through re-entry waivers. Still, no one picked him up.
The Devils won a game last night in Jersey, 3-1 which broke up a six game losing skid. The team is 2-8 in their last 10 games. Johan Hedberg was in net for them in that contest.
The Devils are led in scoring by Patrik Elias, Kovalchuk, and Travis Zajac.
Another newcomer, Jason Arnott, currently has nine goals which is tied with Kovalchuk for best on the team.
Tonight, the master will once again face his apprentice as Brodeur gets the call against the red hot Cam Ward.
|2010 - Cam Ward||31||1770||16||11||74||2.51||1017||943||.927||2|
|2010 - Martin Brodeur||26||1403||5||18||71||3.04||621||550||.886||3|
We have talked a lot about Ward recently. Can he keep his streak going?
For the first time this season the Hurricanes are facing some injury adversity, but the good news is that some talented youngsters are getting a chance to show their stuff.
Zach Boychuk, who was originally recalled to replace Jiri Tlusty, picked up an important assist on the game winning goal in Toronto, then followed that up with two goals in Ottawa the next night.
Tlusty, Jussi Jokinen, and Joni Pitkanen will remain out in this contest.
Zac Dalpe and Brett Carson have been recalled from the Charlotte Checkers to help fill in. The starting lines for the Canes should be as follows:
- Staal, Samsonov, Cole
- Skinner, Ruutu, LaRose
- Sutter, Boychuk, Dwyer
- Carter, Dalpe, Bodie
- Gleason, Corvo
- White, Harrison
- Carson, McBain
Paul Maurice had some interesting comments about the game at this morning's skate: Paul Maurice 1 1 11
If you would like to print out roster information and bring it with you to the game, Hockeymom's Game Guide is always a good choice.
Canes Country's Game Guide: Hurricanes vs Devils
HM also found a couple of Jersey related links which might be of interest.
Lemaire: "It’s like my first win ever"; Brodeur to start in Carolina: Fire & Ice
Fire & Ice: Lemaire: goaltending hasn’t been "up to par"
John Fischer and crew at "In Lou We Trust" will have more insight about New Jersey.
Everyone has heard by now that the Winter Classic has been pushed back until 8 p.m. tonight. Set your DVR's and check out that game after this one. The puck will drop at 7 and the game will be broadcast locally by FS Carolinas.
I will be reporting from press row on Twitter and in the Open Game Thread, which will start up at 6:30.