If they were serious about celebrating their 25th anniversary this season, one of the best things the Hurricanes could have done was draw the New Jersey Devils at some point during the playoffs.
The Devils and Hurricanes will square off for their fifth playoff series in this millennium in this second round, starting with game 1 at PNC Arena tonight. The Devils are tied with the Bruins for the most frequent playoff opponent in Hurricanes history with the Bruins.
A brief run down of Hurricanes-Devils series:
2001: Devils won 4-2
2002: Hurricanes won 4-2
2006: Hurricanes won 4-1
2009: Hurricanes won 4-3
Of course, it’s been a minute since those iconic goals from Eric Staal and Jussi Jokinen won game seven for the Hurricanes in 2009. So, what will this edition bring?
The Hurricanes closed out their first-round series against the Islanders with an overtime victory in game 6 last Friday, while the Devils routed their hated rival, the New York Rangers, two days ago.
This series will start with games in Raleigh tonight and Friday before shifting to New Jersey on Sunday.
Let’s break down tonight’s matchup:
- Rod Brind’Amour was 3-1 in playoff series against the Devils as a player with the Hurricanes, how will he do as a coach? Tim Gleason, now an assist with the Hurricanes, scored the game-winning goal in overtime in game 2, and earned a secondary assist on Jokinen’s game-tying goal in game 7, in the 2009 series.
- The Hurricanes will see a pair of old friends in Erik Haula and Dougie Hamilton tonight. Haula has now played villain against his former team in three straight playoffs, having suited up for the Predators in 2021 and Bruins last season.
- Sebastian Aho has scored a goal in three straight games, and led the Hurricanes with four goals and seven points in the first round.
- Paul Stastny, the overtime hero in game 6, scored three goals in round one.
- The Devils won this year’s regular-season series with a 2-1-1 record.
- The special teams battle could prove important: The Devils didn’t allow a power-play goal in any of their four wins over the Rangers, and the Hurricanes yielded just one power-play goal against in the first round.
- Akira Schmid became the first goalie in Devils history to win his first three playoff games, and boasted a .951 save percentage in round one.
- Want to know who’s starting in goal for the Hurricanes? You’ll have to wait until warmups. Antti Raanta won games one, two and four in the first round, but Frederik Andersen was spectacular, stopping 33 of 34 shots, in game six.
Hurricanes projected lineup:
Stefan Noesen — Sebastian Aho — Seth Jarvis
Jordan Martinook — Jesperi Kotkaniemi — Jesper Fast
Jack Drury — Jordan Staal — Martin Necas
Derek Stepan — Paul Stastny — Jesse Puljujarvi
Jaccob Slavin — Brent Burns
Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere — Jalen Chatfield
Frederik Andersen/Antti Raanta
Scratches: Dylan Coghlan, Calvin de Haan, Mackenzie MacEachern
New Jersey Devils Projected lineup:
Thomas Tatar — Nico Hischier — Jesper Bratt
Ondrej Palat — Jack Hughes — Erik Haula
Timo Meier (GTD) — Dawson Mercer — Yegor Sharangovich
Miles Wood — Michael McLeod — Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler — Dougie Hamilton
Ryan Graves — John Marino
Kevin Bahl — Damon Severson