The Carolina Hurricanes began their season-high win streak with a victory over the New Jersey Devils. To move closer to their first playoff berth since winning the Stanley Cup, they will try to end the Devils' franchise-record run at home.
The Hurricanes head into New Jersey on Saturday night searching for their sixth straight victory and attempting to snap the Devils' 11-game win streak at the Prudential Center.
Since a 4-2 home victory March 18 over New Jersey, Carolina (41-28-7) has moved within one point of fourth-place Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference with its five consecutive wins. While the Hurricanes have earned a point in 11 of their last 12 games, they remain only five points ahead of eighth-place Montreal.
With a pair of third-period goals, Carolina earned a clutch 2-1 victory Thursday night over visiting Ottawa and can accomplish another feat from its Cup-winning season. The Hurricanes can win six in a row for the first time since a nine-game streak from Dec. 31, 2005-Jan. 19, 2006.
Carolina has won three straight over the Devils but lost its past two at New Jersey and is 1-3-1 in the last five trips there. The Hurricanes, who will make their first visit to the Prudential Center in 2008-09 on Saturday, wrap up the regular season there April 11 following a four-game homestand.
"We haven't done anything yet," said Rod Brind'Amour, who had the tying goal Thursday and assisted on Anton Babchuk's winning score. "I'm proud that we're playing in every game, and even though we've got some big wins, we seem to be able to let that go, come back and know we've got to win that next one. ... Even though we're in a situation where it looks good, 'Oh, you're in fourth or fifth or wherever you are,' if other teams win those games, we're really just barely hanging on."
Brind'Amour has a point in each of his team's five straight wins with two goals and six assists, and Babchuk has four goals during the streak.
While Carolina is chasing a postseason berth, the Devils (47-23-5) have wrapped up their 12th in a row, but a winless three-game road trip dropped them to third in the East - one point behind Washington. New Jersey remains seven ahead of Philadelphia in its drive for a second straight Atlantic Division title and is trying to reach 100 points for the 10th time in 12 seasons after finishing with 99 in 2007-08.
The Devils settled for one point Friday night in Chicago, losing 3-2 in overtime.
"We're not playing as well as we want to, but we've got a lot of games left," goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "We've got to start building a little and get focused on what we need to do."
Since earning his 101st career shutout last week against visiting Minnesota, Brodeur has allowed 11 goals in the three straight losses, but the Devils goaltender will look to bounce back at home, where he has won eight straight while giving up eight goals.
Brodeur is 8-1-1 with a 1.67 goals-against average in his last 10 starts against the Hurricanes, but sat out the March 18 defeat after breaking Patrick Roy's NHL record for career wins the previous night against Chicago.
He also missed a 3-2 loss in Carolina on Jan. 6 while recovering from left elbow surgery. Since returning Feb. 26, Brodeur is 9-3-1 with a 2.19 GAA and is two shutouts away from tying Terry Sawchuk's all-time mark of 103.