|Division Rank||7th Metro||4th Metro|
|Conference Rank||15th EC||9th EC|
|Last 10 Games||5-4-1||4-3-3|
|Streak||Lost 1||Won 1|
|ES Goals For %||42.4%||47.4%|
|ES Corsi For %||53.4%||47.7%|
|Power Play % (Rank)||17.9% (18)||20.2% (12)|
|Penalty Kill % (Rank)||76.8% (28)||81.9% (11)|
|ES Save %||.907||.937|
|ES Save %||.882||.897|
*Stats from NHL.com and War on Ice
- The NHL returns to action today after a mandatory three-day Christmas break, and the Canes find themselves with four games left to close out 2015, two against the New Jersey Devils. Tonight's game is here in Raleigh, then it's a quick trip to Chicago to take on the defending Stanley Cup champions, to New Jersey for a repeat against the Devils, and back to Raleigh to close out the year against the Capitals on New Years Eve.
- Relatively speaking, December has been a good month for the Canes (5-4-1), but it didn't start out that way with one of their poorest performances of the season against the Devils on December 3. Down by a goal at the end of an uninspiring first period, they were unable to overcome a double-minor high stick penalty by Jeff Skinner in the second period, giving up a power play goal in the first two minutes of the infraction and another six seconds after the penalty expired. Brad Malone provided a spark with a goal plus a fighting major, but even after a chippy third period the Canes ended up on the wrong side of a 5-1 final score.
- A year ago today, the Devils fired head coach Pete DeBoer, and limped along for the remainder of the 2014-15 season with coaching by committee before hiring John Hynes in the off-season. This season under Hynes' direction the Devils have improved eight points in the standings and are just one point out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. They don't score a lot of goals, but they don't give up a lot of goals or shots either. They are solid on special teams and rely on Cory Schneider (league-leading 29 starts) to be their workhorse in net. Mike Cammalleri leads the team in points with 32 (12g, 20a), and Kyle Palmieri leads in goal scoring with 14 goals. They have four players with 20-plus points.
- The Devils have lost the fifth-highest number of man-games to injury (125) this season, and their most significant loss has been assistant captain and franchise scoring leader Patrik Elias, who has missed 22 games and is currently day-to-day with a lingering knee issue. Two ex-Hurricanes are expected to be back in the lineup tonight to face their former team. Jiri Tlusty will make his first appearance since being traded last February, and Tuomo Ruutu has returned to the Devils line-up after missing 28 games with a fractured foot. Ruutu has five points (2g, 3a) in six games against the Canes since being traded and does not have any points in his seven games played this season (sorry to be the one to break the news but might as well go ahead and mark him down for a goal, Tlusty too, most likely).
- The Canes will be looking to bounce back from a well-played but ultimately unsuccessful effort against the Capitals before the holiday break. After scoring 26 goals in a six-game December stretch, led by Jeff Skinner with nine, in their last three games the Canes have only scored three goals and Skinner has been held without a point. He does however have 10 goals (and 13 points) in 19 career games against the Devils, and his 14 total goals for the season is a team-high. Justin Faulk, who leads the team with 27 points, has nine points (4g, 5a) in December.
- With both teams resuming action today, stay tuned after the morning skates for any news and updated line-ups for tonight.
Hurricanes (updated 11:00 am from morning skate)
Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Riley Nash
Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Jaccob Slavin
Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Nathan Gerbe (ankle), Chris Terry (healthy)
Devils (updated 12:30 pm from morning skate)
Mike Cammalleri - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak
Jiri Tlusty - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
Sergey Kalinin - Jacob Josefson - Tyler Kennedy
Tuomo Ruutu - Stephen Gionta - Jordin Tootoo
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
John Moore - Damon Severson
Eric Gelinas - David Schlemko
Injuries and Scratches: Bobby Farnham (shoulder), Patrick Elias (knee), Stefan Matteau (healthy), Jon Merrill (healthy)
- Canes Game Day hub [CH.com]
- Rod Brind'Amour talks leadership with Adam Gold (from Wednesday, and this is a must listen) [WRALSportsFan]
- Justin Faulk, by the numbers, is one of the NHL's best defensemen [NHL.com]
- The Canes have a tough line with Jordan Staal, Andrej Nestrasil, and Joakim Nordstrom [N&O]
- John Forslund joins Mike Maniscalco to fireside chat about the power play, young defense, and the Christmas break on the Canes Corner podcast [WRALSportsFan].
- The World Juniors Championship starts today in Helsinki, and the Canes represent with four prospects [CH.com]. Find the schedule here [IIHF homepage] and here are 12 things to watch for [NHL.com].