The Carolina Hurricanes return to the road tonight for the first time since January 25th for the first of three important Metropolitan Division (and Eastern Conference wildcard) tilts in four days. The first matchup of the season against the New Jersey Devils provides the Canes with an opportunity to leapfrog the Devils in the playoff race, as they enter tonight’s action a single point behind Jersey for the top wildcard slot. The trip to New Jersey also serves at the Canes Moms trips this season, and the moms are taking in a little Broadway before tonight’s game:
The #CanesMoms are headed to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. pic.twitter.com/OPKSbMY8Fp— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) February 15, 2018
The Hurricanes will send out Cam Ward in net, which will likely set up Scott Darling for a critical home appearance against one of the most prolific offenses in the NHL in the New York Islanders tomorrow evening. Never mind:
Scott Darling tonight if we didn't already know that (per Forslund with Adam & Joe)— Jamie Kellner (@jbkellner) February 15, 2018
The Hurricanes were only 1-2-1 against New Jersey last season, with their only win coming in Newark late last March. While the Canes may not have to deal the excellent Cory Schneider in net, they will face Keith Kinkaid, who beat the Canes last season in a 4-1 victory last season, and is 4-1 overall in his career against the Hurricanes.
Carolina elected not to skate this morning, and with Bill Peters propensity for tinkering with his lines, below is the best guess for how the Canes will come out based on the lines used against the Kings on Tuesday night:
Brock McGinn - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Teuvo Teravainen - Victor Rask - Justin Williams
Jeff Skinner - Sebastian Aho - Lee Stempniak
Joakim Nordstrom - Derek Ryan - Phil Di Giuseppe
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Scratches: Klas Dahlbeck (healthy), Patrick Brown (healthy)
The Devils were able to get off their four-game losing skid with a shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. The five goals scored in the victory was the highest total for New Jersey since December 18th. Their leading scorer, Taylor Hall, was able to net two goals, and despite the prior four game losing streak, his offense has seen an uptick recently with goals in four of the last five contests and eight total points in those five games.
While the recent troubles for the Devils has mostly been laid at the feet of Cory Schneider’s groin injury that will keep him out for each this week’s contests with the Canes, the problems can also be traced to inopportune struggles on offense. In their most recent four game losing streak, they did give up a total of 19 goals, but in the four game losing streak that preceded that by only a week, the Devils gave up three goals in each game, but could only muster three goals total in the four games.
Another injury of note: Marcus Johansson remains out with concussion symptoms and Brian Boyle is remains day-to-day, although he did not skate this morning for the Devils.
See the Devils lines below:
Taylor Hall - Nico Hischier - Kyle Palmieri
Jesper Bratt - Pavel Zacha - Nick Lappin
Miles Wood - Travis Zajac - Stefan Noesen
Jimmy Hayes - Blake Coleman - Drew Stafford
Andy Greene - Sami Vatanen
John Moore - Damon Severson
Will Butcher - Ben Lovejoy
Scratches: Brian Boyle (shoulder), John Quenneville (knee)