The New Jersey Devils (21-25-10) will make their way south to take on the Carolina Hurricanes (32-21-3) for the second half of a back-to-back. Their game is slated for Friday at 6:00 pm. These two teams share a division and a conference, the Metropolitan and the Eastern respectively. Though only separated by two places in the standings, there are 15 points between them. The Hurricanes are 6th in the Metro and 9th in the East with 67 points. The Devils are 8th in the Metro and 14th in the Eastern Conference, only having 52 points. These teams will be becoming very familiar with each other over the last stretch of the season. Their upcoming game is only the second of four in the regular season, with their last match taking place on November 2nd. In that game, the two teams ended both the first and second periods with a tied score, but two third period goals from the Devils that the Canes couldn’t answer gave them the 5-3 win.
Devils Hope To Build On Third Period SurgeIt’s no secret that the Devils have been struggling this season. Near the bottom of the league, and with a little less than ten points before they can tie with the next closest foe in this division, playoffs aren’t looking likely for the team. Couple that with the tough stretch of games they’re facing down, things aren’t going to get better for the Devils unless they start to play at the level that they’re capable of. And, in their most recent game, that’s exactly what they did...eventually. Granted, their victory was over one of the few teams in the league that’s doing worse than them this season- the Detroit Red Wings. For the first nearly forty minutes of the game, it was scoreless. The Red Wings changed that at 16:34 when they were able to find the back of the net on the powerplay. At first, it seemed as if the Devils were unable to respond until the third period opened up. Within those twenty minutes, New Jersey lit up the goal light four times to close out the game with a 4-1 victory. The best part? They only needed three players to accomplish that. Andy Greene and Jesper Bratt both had one goal apiece, while Wayne Simmonds scored twice to help push his team to victory. In net for the Devils was Mackenzie Blackwood. Blackwood stopped 25 of 26 shots to get a .962 save percentage.
Hurricanes Need Playoff Push
The Hurricanes currently need four points to tie with their two wild card rivals, and five points to surpass them. In a league where everyone is playing for keeps, that’s a lot harder than it might sound. The Canes have dropped five of their last ten games, including their most recent outing. They’re a team that’s perfectly capable of making it into the playoffs, but they’re surrounded by other perfectly capable teams that are playing like they want it more. To make it to a wild card spot, or even one of the top three in the Metro, the Hurricanes need to turn up the heat and start playing like a playoff-worthy team.
Which is not what they did when they faced off against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night. The Canes traveled down to Texas for the game, and apparently, they forgot their winning streak at home as they dropped the game 4-1 to the Stars. A big problem that the Canes faced in the game was their shot volume. Even though they had the first shot on goal just a few seconds into the game, they would then not have a single shot for the next ten minutes. With that kind of production, it’s not surprising that they were only able to find the back of the net once. That lone goal scorer was Sebastian Aho, actually in the first period. That would be the first and only time that Carolina would be able to put a tally up on the scoreboard, as the rest of the goals in the game went to their opponent. In net for the
- The Hurricanes are 10-0-0 when leading after the first period at home.
- The Hurricanes are 22-3-1 overall when they score first.
- The Devils are 4-14-0 when their opponent scores first on the road.
- The Devils are 0-11-0 when they trail after the first period on the road.