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Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils Series Preview: Forwards, Power Play

The Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils will be squaring off in the second round of the NHL playoffs and for the first time overall since 2009.

New Jersey Devils v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes are on to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and their opponent will once again be the team that was neck and neck with them for the Metropolitan Division crown, however this time it’s the upstart New Jersey Devils.

Carolina managed to best the New York Islanders in six games to advance while the Devils defeated the New York Rangers in seven games.

While round one for the Hurricanes featured a system mirror match, that won't be quite the case for round two as New Jersey presents a whole heap of new challenges.

So let’s take a look at the breakdown for the second round matchup.


By the Numbers:

Offensive Stats

Stat Carolina Hurricanes New Jersey Devils
Stat Carolina Hurricanes New Jersey Devils
Goals For 262 (15th) 289 (5th)
GF/60 3.15 3.52
xGF/60 3.56 (5th) 3.62 (2nd)
Unblocked Shot Attempts/GP 51.52 (1st) 47.55 (4th)
Shots on Goal/GP 34.8 (3rd) 34.4 (4th)
Faceoff % 52.9% (5th) 51.3% (13th)
Shooting % 9.2% (26th) 10.2% (15th)

Forward Leaders

Category Carolina Hurricanes New Jersey Devils
Category Carolina Hurricanes New Jersey Devils
Goals Sebastian Aho (36) Jack Hughes (43)
Assists Martin Necas (43) Jack Hughes (56)
Points Martin Necas (71) Jack Hughes (99)
Hits Jordan Staal (155) Michael McLeod (127)
Average TOI Sebastian Aho (19:30) Jack Hughes (19:58)
Plus/Minus Teuvo Teravainen/Stefan Noesen (+11) Tomas Tatar (+41)

Playoff Leaders

  • Goals - Sebastian Aho (4) / Erik Haula (4)
  • Assists - Sebastian Aho (3) / Nico Hischier (5)
  • Points - Sebastian Aho (7) / Erik Haula (6)

Anticipated Lines

Carolina Hurricanes

Stefan Noesen - Sebastian Aho - Seth Jarvis
Jordan Martinook - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Jesper Fast
Jack Drury - Jordan Staal - Martin Necas
Paul Stastny - Derek Stepan - Jesse Puljujarvi

Extras: Mackenzie MacEachern

New Jersey Devils

Tomas Tatar - Nico Hischier - Jesper Bratt
Erik Haula - Jack Hughes - Ondrej Palat
Timo Meier - Dawson Mercer - Yegor Sharangovich
Miles Wood - Michael McLeod - Nathan Bastian

Extras: Curtis Lazar, Jesper Boqvist

The Breakdown

New Jersey Devils 2022-23 5v5 Offense
New Jersey Devils 2022-23 5v5 Finishing

The Devils are a high flying offense that exceeds off of the rush, utilizing their speed as their greatest weapon. However, the team also has good forechecking prowess with players like Nico Hischier, Tomas Tatar, Timo Meier and Ondrej Palat.

Of lines to have played at least 150 minutes together this season, New Jersey had the top xGoal% line of Bratt-Haula-Hughes which controlled a 70.1 xGoal%. Tatar-Hischier-Mercer controlled an xGoals% of 65.5, which was fifth in the league.

The number one name that everyone will have to be aware of though is Jack Hughes. The New Jersey superstar lit up the league this season and has been a dominant force in the playoffs as well. He creates so much space for himself with his explosive skating and edgework and he’s just an overall nightmare to matchup against.

The Devils are also deep in young talent with names like Jesper Bratt and Dawson Mercer helping to boost the lineups scoring ability.

Carolina has struggled to matchup against teams as fast as the Devils are, but it will be interesting to see how that translate to the postseason and just how much can the Hurricanes neutralize it.

The task of going toe-to-toe is a daunting one for Carolina specifically because of the losses up front. With the additional loss of Teuvo Teravainen, the Canes most certainly cannot matchup offensively, so the strategy will have to focus on slowing the game down and hoping to wear the Devils down with their forechecking and physicality.

Power Play

By the Numbers:

Power Play Stats

Stat Carolina Hurricanes New Jersey Devils
Stat Carolina Hurricanes New Jersey Devils
PP Goals For 50 (19th) 49 (20th)
Power Play Opportunities 253 (14th) 224 (29th)
PP% 19.8% (20th) 21.9% (13th)
PP GF/GP 0.61 (19th) 0.60 (20th)
Shorthanded Goals Against 6 (8th) 8 (17th)

Playoff Percentages

Carolina Hurricanes - 20% (5/25)

New Jersey Devils - 16.7% (4/24)

Anticipated Power Play Units

Carolina Hurricanes

PP1: Aho-Jarvis-Necas-Noesen-Burns

PP2: Kotkaniemi-Drury-Stastny-Puljujarvi-Gostisbehere

New Jersey Devils

PP1: Meier-Hughes-Mercer-Hischier-Hamilton

PP2: Palat-Tatar-Haula-Bratt-Severson

Power Play Leaders

Carolina Hurricanes

Goals: Regular Season - Martin Necas (9), Playoffs - Stefan Noesen (2)

Assists: Regular Season - Brent Burns (19), Playoffs - Brent Burns (3)

Points: Regular Season - Martin Necas (26), Playoffs - Stefan Noesen (4)

New Jersey Devils

Goals: Regular Season - Jack Hughes (9), Playoffs - Erik Haula (2)

Assists: Regular Season - Jack Hughes (22), Playoffs - Eight Players (1)

Points: Regular Season - Jack Hughes (31), Playoffs - Dawson Mercer, Jack Hughes, Erik Haula (2)

The Breakdown

Despite the greater 5v5 scoring power and speed, the Devils’ power play has been about average, just barely better than the Hurricanes’ in terms of scoring percentage. The top unit is completely loaded, but they haven’t been able to make teams pay as much as one would expect.

New Jersey Devils 2022-23 Power Play

The Devils have also not drawn many calls this season despite the effectiveness of their speed game.

Despite that, the Hurricanes can’t underestimate the potency of New Jersey’s players especially after how lackluster the one they just faced in the New York Islanders was.

Carolina is well aware of how good a quarterback Hamilton is on the backside and the superstar that is Jack Hughes can make something out of literally nothing.

On the flip side, the Canes’ power play actually showed a lot of promise in the New York series. They managed to score at a decent clip against a top shutdown squad and Vezina goaltender, so even though New Jersey has a very good kill, it still may be easier to cut through than the Islanders were.

If the new top unit, which has gelled really well as of late, can keep the ball rolling, Carolina may help push itself to the next round.


While Carolina doesn’t have the offensive firepower that New Jersey does, the Canes have more experience and a better bottom half of the lineup. If the Hurricanes can find success in certain matchups, the depth that was so key against the Islanders may just help Carolina make another improbable push.

Either way, it should be an exciting series with way more ice available than there was in Round One.