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Preview: Hurricanes at Devils

Canes close out road trip in New Jersey

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - The Carolina Hurricanes wrap up a five-game road trip when they visit the New Jersey Devils.

Having won three games in a row, including two against Metropolitan Division opponents, the Canes are 3-1-0 on the trip and occupy a wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Keep On

Once the afterglow of adrenaline faded for Justin Williams in his return to the NHL, he knew he would have to work to settle into the pace and rhythm of play once again.

And now that he has, he's hit his stride.

Williams tallied a goal on Tuesday in Detroit to extend his goal streak to five games (6g), the oldest player in franchise history to accomplish such a feat. The stretch also matches the 38-year-old's longest goal streak of his career.

Video: CAR@DET: Williams buries one-timer for PPG

"No, not surprised. … He's Justin Williams," Sebastian Aho said. "Maybe not the fastest guy, but he's really smart and strong."

"He's perfect for our group. We need that veteran leadership, a guy who knows how to win," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "It always seems to be him leading the way."

Canes Getting Healthier

Petr Mrazek returned from the injured list on Tuesday in Detroit after missing six-games with a concussion. Mrazek stopped 23 shots against his former team to earn his 21st win of the season.

"He was great. He was really solid," Brind'Amour said. "You could tell he was on it right from the start. Made some real big saves at the right time for us. That's what we need."

Ryan Dzingel, who has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, has been skating with the team in practice this week.

"He's, I think, ready to go," Brind'Amour said on Wednesday. "He could have probably played the other night, but right now we have healthy bodies, so we don't need to push anybody into the lineup. I think he's ready."

James Reimer, who has missed seven games with a lower-body injury, has returned to the ice with the team in practice but isn't carrying a heavy workload

"Him being out there, though, is a good sign," Brind'Amour said.

The Last Meeting

After returning home from a four-game road trip, the Canes netted four straight goals en route to a 5-2 win over the Devils on Feb. 14. Five different players found the back of the net for the Canes, and Nino Niederreiter finished with a goal and an assist in his first-star performance. Birthday boy Mrazek turned aside 35 of the 37 shots he faced in net.

Video: Niederreiter, Mrazek propel Hurricanes to victory

"We came up big at the right times," Brind'Amour said.

The Opposition

The Devils scored back-to-back wins over St. Louis and the New York Rangers over the weekend before dropping a 5-2 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on Tuesday. Former Canes prospect Janne Kuokkanen is expected to flank rookie center Jack Hughes on the Devils' third line on Thursday. Kyle Palmieri is the team's leading scorer with 45 points (25g, 20a) in 65 games.





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