– ‘Twas the night before the night before Christmas, and all on the ice, hockey creatures were stirring, sometimes not playing so nice.
(That’s all I’ve got.)
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s Christmas Eve eve match-up between the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, photos and more as puck drop draws near.
A preview of tonight’s game can be found below. The Canes will hold an optional skate at Prudential Center at 11:30 a.m. this morning, and we’ll be rinkside to bring you any and all updates!Last updated: 1:45 p.m.
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS FOR WOODS1:45 p.m.
Of all his Christmases, this one is the merriest for Brendan Woods.
The second-year forward was recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night, and he’ll make his NHL debut in New Jersey on the eve of Christmas Eve.
“Easily the best [gift] anyone could give me,” Woods said after an optional morning skate. “That’s the one thing I kept telling myself and my family. I said, ‘Sorry mom. No matter what you got me, I think they beat you here.’”FULL STORY ›
KHUDOBIN TO START AND OTHER LINEUP NOTES12:30 p.m.
The Carolina Hurricanes held an optional morning skate at Prudential Center today. 11 skaters plus goaltender and equipment manager extraordinaire Jorge Alves participated: Jordan Staal, Nathan Gerbe, Riley Nash, Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm, Jeff Skinner, Chris Terry, Brendan Woods, Justin Faulk, Brett Bellemore and Michal Jordan.
Alexander Semin skated after the optional group, but he'll miss tonight's game with an upper-body injury. In his stead, Brendan Woods will make his NHL debut. We'll have reaction from him in just a bit.
Anton Khudobin will make his second straight start in net after stopping 30 shots in a 1-0 loss in New York on Sunday night.
"He played real well in New York, and we're going to go right back to him," head coach Bill Peters said. "We haven't scored a lot of goals when he's been in net, and we haven't scored a lot of goals in general, either. He deserves the opportunity to play again tonight."
Brett Bellemore will be the healthy extra on defense.
Here's how the Canes lineup will look tonight:
ALL THE CANES WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A WIN6:00 a.m.
In the final game before the NHL breaks for Christmas, the Carolina Hurricanes meet the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center, the second of four meetings between the two divisional opponents this season.
Both teams have struggled in their last ten games, with the Canes posting a 2-7-1 record and the Devils a 3-5-2 mark.
Polishing off a four-game homestand and coming off a 4-0 loss to the Washington Capitals, the Devils haven’t won consecutive game since the middle of November. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes last victory on the road came on Nov. 28 in Pittsburgh by a score of 4-2. Since then, Carolina has lost four straight away from home, and they’ve scored one or fewer goals in each game.
“We’ve got to do it right. We’re in all these games, and we have to find ways to make more plays,” head coach Bill Peters said. “Our goaltending has been solid and consistent with both guys, so we have to find a way to score and get on the board. We’re a different team when we score early in games and when we have the lead.”
A victory to push the team into double digits in the win column would be a nice gift heading into the three-day Christmas break, and the Canes are approaching that goal with the right mindset.
“You can take a bad situation and make it really bad if you start getting into a negative mindset,” Patrick Dwyer said after practice on Monday. “As long as everyone stays positive, it’s easier to come to the rink every day. You know everyone else next to you is going to come in with a positive spirit, put on their work boots and become better people and better hockey players. If we keep that attitude, we’ll get out of this at some point.”
Eric Staal and Alexander Semin did not practice with the Hurricanes on Monday. This is nothing new for Staal, whose ice time in practices and morning skates has been extremely limited as of late.
Brendan Woods was summoned from Charlotte Monday night, the first NHL recall for the second-year forward. He ranks tied for fourth among Checkers skaters with 13 points (6g, 7a) in 29 games.
NOTES: New Jersey has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the two teams at Prudential Center. … The Canes have scored two or fewer goals in 10 of the last 15 meetings with the Devils and are 0-9-1 in those games.