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PRE-GAME REPORT: Devils at Hurricanes

Devils complete a set of back-to-game games with a short one-game trip to Carolina

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils visit the Carolina Hurricanes for their second game in as many nights. 

You can watch the game on MSG+ or listen on the Devils Hockey Network. 

Video: DEVILS:60 | Merkley's Debut

Read the game preview, including lineup updates, our Pre-Game Report, videos and more. 

INSIDE THE DEVILS

Nick Merkley recalled plus Devils news and notes from the past few days. 

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE DEVILS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

RALEIGH, NC - Coming off a win on Thursday against Detroit, the Devils still have three lineup changes that they're making prior to tonight's contest in Carolina. 

Colton White will be coming in on the blueline with Connor Carrick drawing out, Nick Merkley makes his Devils debut with John Hayden sitting and Louis Domingue starts in goal. 

"I'm really excited. It took a lot of work to get here. Pumped to be here and want to take advantage of the opportunity," said Merkley, who will play on a line with Joey Anderson and Kevin Rooney. 

"On the power play we played together. It's nice to be playing together with him again up here," Merkley said of Anderson. "Super smart. Good with the puck. Makes the right plays. Playing the right way all the time."

Merkley was one of the prospects involved in the trade which saw Taylor Hall go to the Arizona Coyotes. Merkley had seven goals and 18 points in 21 games with Binghamton after only three goals and 16 points in 26 games with the Coyotes' AHL farm team in Tucson. The 22-year-old has played one game in his NHL career, registering no points and two penalty minutes.

"A lot of it was opportunity," he said of his success in the AHL. "In Binghamton, I got a lot of opportunity on the power play and other situations. Proving myself after that trade was another thing."

Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine is hoping that Merkley can continue his offensive strides that he made in the AHL. 

"That's what we're hoping for. He found his scoring touch down in Binghamton. The whole team is playing better. He's a high draft pick. For us, it's what is he doing now. He was deserving of a call-up," Nasreddine began. "We'll see what he can bring at this level. You see it all the time. A player will come to an organization with a fresh start. Whatever happened in the old organization we don't know."

The lineup is expected to look like this tonight:

Bratt - Hughes - Palmieri
Coleman - Zajac - Gusev
Wood - Zacha - Simmonds
Anderson - Rooney - Merkley

Greene - Subban
Mueller - Severson
Butcher - White

Domingue

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

PREVIEW

DEVILS (21-25-10) at HURRICANES (32-21-3)

TV: 7:00 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG+

Head-to-Head:

Tonight's game is the second of four meetings between the two teams this season. 

In their only other game, the Devils won 5-3 in Carolina on November 2. P.K. Subban scored the game winner and Miles Wood had two points to lead the Devils.

Last season, each team won twice with the home team winning each game. Pavel Zacha led the way for the Devils with five points in four games. 

Devils team scope:

The Devils have shown some team success following the all-star break with only one loss in regulation in eight outings (4-1-3). Last night, they defeated the Detroit Red Wings with a strong four-goal effort in the third period to rally for the victory.

Kyle Palmieri had an assist in that game to increase his team lead to 39 points. 

Hurricanes team scope:

The Hurricanes currently sit four points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference behind both Philadelphia and Columbus who hold the two wild card spots. They have won two of their last three games and three out of five but last time out lost a 4-1 decision to the Dallas Stars. 

Carolina is led by a trio up front who are each within two points of the team lead in scoring: Teuvo Teravainen (54 points), Sebastian Aho (52) and Andrei Svechnikov (52). Aho leads the team with 31 goals. 

By the Numbers:

On Thursday, Nick Merkley was called up from AHL Binghamton. Merkley was one of the prospects involved in the trade which saw Taylor Hall go to the Arizona Coyotes. Merkley had seven goals and 18 points in 21 games with Binghamton after only three goals and 16 points in 26 games with the Coyotes' AHL farm team in Tucson. The 22-year-old has played one game in his NHL career, registering no points and two penalty minutes.

Blackwood didn't allow a goal on Thursday until late in the second period. He extended his shutout streak to 171:37 which eclipsed his previous career high of 135:26.

Damon Severson has picked up nine points (two goals) in eight games since the all-star break with at least a point in every single game. He becomes the second Devils defenseman to record an eight-game point streak since Brian Rafalski did it in 2006-07.

Injury Updates:

Devils - Nico Hischier (lower body) is day-to-day; Sami Vatanen (lower body) is on IR

Hurricanes - Dougie Hamilton (fractured fibula) is out for the season; Jordan Martinook (upper body) is day-to-day

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

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