The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (37-20-3) at the Carolina Hurricanes (23-30-7). This is the third meeting of the season for both teams.
The Last Devils Game: With the score tied, 2-2, in the third period of last night's game against the Predators, left-winger Ilya Kovalchuk netted the game-winner for the Devils. It was Kovalchuk's first goal as a Devil, and it sparked a three-goal third period. The Devils defeated the Predators, 5-2.
The Last Hurricanes Game: The Hurricanes rallied from a 2-0 deficit Thursday against the Sabres, and won the game in overtime, 4-3. Sergei Samsonov scored the game-winning goal. The win kept the Hurricane's hot streak alive. The team has won four in a row, five straight on their home ice, and eight of their last ten games.
The Last Devils/Hurricanes Game: In their last meeting, Andy Greene scored two goals and Martin Brodeur made 21 saves to lead the Devils to victory, 4-2. The victory was the team's second over the Hurricanes this season.
Tonight's Formula: The Devils played a nearly complete game last night, and the result was a dominating 5-2 win. The Devils were causing turnovers on the forecheck, playing creative hockey, and being responsible in their defensive zone. The Hurricanes are clearly clicking right now, and this isn't the same team the Devils played in October and December. In order to win the game tonight, the Devils need to replicate their aggressive, attacking style from last night.
The Hurricanes will also be missing goalie Cam Ward, forwards Erik Cole, Chad LaRose (who usually plays well against the Devils), and Scott Walker. Manny Legace isn't an incredible goalie, so putting early pressure on the veteran will be another key for the Devils. Pekka Rinne played very well last night, but with continued pressure, the Devils finally broke open. Rinne is a better goalie than Legace, and consistent Devils pressure should lead to another big night for the team.
The Devils didn't have a morning skate today in Raleigh, N.C. Jay Pandolfo missed last night's game, but he was a "healthy" scratch and will play tonight. Coach Jaques Lemaire already announced that Martin Brodeur will start tonight in Carolina. The Devils sent down Cory Murphy today, which means Anssi Salmela might play in tonight's game after sitting out the past two with a suspected concussion. Remember, join Running With The Devils tonight for a live game blog!
These line combinations are based off the line combinations from the third period of last night's game with the Predators. Jay Pandolfo will replace either Pelley, Zharkov or Corrente tonight:
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus
Ilya Kovalchuk - Patrick Elias - Jamie Langenbrunner
Brian Rolston - Rob Niedermayer - Vladmir Zharkov
Rod Pelley - Dean McAmmond - Matt Corrente
Bryce Salador - Andy Greene
Colin White - Mike Mottau
Mark Fraser - Anssi Salmela