SHORT HILLS, N.J. - 10? Do I hear 10?
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's Metropolitan Division 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.
The Hurricanes opted for the day off on Friday, in keeping with their rhythm, and will hold a morning skate at 11:30 a.m. at Prudential Center. We'll be there to bring you the latest.
Last updated: 6:40 p.m.
BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
Mike Maniscalco details tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.
1. Get it Deep
Make the Devils go 200 feet. New Jersey has scored the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference. Getting the puck in deep on the defense and pinning a team that has a tough time scoring goals is a big advantage. The Hurricanes offensive attack can frustrate the Devils by creating turnovers.
2. Score First
As mentioned, New Jersey doesn't bring a dynamic offense to the party. Scoring first and putting pressure on the Devils to not give up that second goal will be a big tool early.
3. Bottle the Montreal Third
The Hurricanes had the lead and didn't sit back on Thursday night in Montreal. Being aggressive offensively and looking for those chances late in the game to stretch the lead instead of defend one suits the Canes attack. Take the lead and build on it, specially in the final 20 minutes.
Head coach Bill Peters met with the media at Prudential Center shortly after the conclusion of the Hurricanes' morning skate. Here's a sampling of what was discussed in the six-plus minute chat.
On the final 10 games: "We're trying to get in. We've got some games in hand, a match-up with the Islanders. We know where we're at and what we have to do. We have to win to keep pace. You can't rely on anyone else doing you any favors, and we've done a good job of that."
On the play of Elias Lindholm: "He's getting good consistent ice time, and he's a young guy who is evolving. ... He's finding his way in the league. He's been very consistent for a long period of time, and he's playing with good linemates."
On the play of Derek Ryan: "He's a hockey player, and there's a lot of hockey in him. What was the better play? The play he made in the neutral zone on the Stempniak goal with him and Skinner? That was a hell of a play and a hell of a shift by that line. Or the two-pad stack glove save on the empty net? Which one do you like? One created a goal and one saved a goal. They're both important."
On Ryan's Masterton Trophy nomination: "You've got a guy who has the respect of his teammates, the respect of the coaching staff and the attention of the rest of the National Hockey League. That's a pretty good year."
On breaking into the NHL and remaining in the league: "Don't give up your opportunity to somebody else who's more hungry than you, who leads a better lifestyle or is more committed to being a National Hockey League player. You have an opportunity yourself, so don't let somebody pass you without a fight."
On Valentin Zykov (upper-body injury): "He's getting closer, yeah. It'd be nice to get him healthy and get him in our lineup or Charlotte's lineup. One or the other. He's getting closer."
CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
No changes to the Canes' forward lines at the morning skate, but the defensive pairs have been tweaked slightly to what was used prior to Thursday in Montreal.
Valentin Zykov continued to skate with the Hurricanes this morning. Matt Tennyson will again be a healthy extra on defense.
CANES CLOSE ROADIE IN NEW JERSEY
Riding a nine-game point streak, the Carolina Hurricanes will cap a four-game road trip in New Jersey on Saturday night.
The Hurricanes have earned five of a possible six points in the first three games of this road trip, dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to Philadelphia before defeating Florida, 4-3, and Montreal, 4-1.
"It was a total team effort. I felt like I had to step up with a couple big saves, but other than that, I felt like everyone was contributing and feeling good," said Eddie Lack, after stopping 21 of 22 in Montreal. "It was a huge two points for us, and we just want to keep rolling here."
That victory extended the Canes' point streak to nine games (6-0-3), and the team has vaulted itself into the playoff conversation in the Eastern Conference.
"The guys are real smart. They know what's on the line, and they know that it's very important for them moving forward," head coach Bill Peters said. "If you can't play at this time of the year, you're probably not going to fit into our organization moving forward. That's really what it amounts to. This is the most important time of the season. Teams are playing very hard, physical and dialed in."
A main factor in the Hurricanes' recent success has been Elias Lindholm, who is also riding a career-long nine-game point streak (4g, 6a). Lindholm's power-play goal in the first period on Thursday night evened the score in Montreal.
The Canes were propelled to victory by Lee Stempniak, who scored two goals in a game for the first time since Oct. 18 in Edmonton. Stempniak's first goal of the game, a backhander that deflected in off the leg of a Canadiens defenseman gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead late in the second period. The veteran winger's second goal padded his team's lead, a finisher on a 2-on-1 with Jeff Skinner.
"It was a great pass. He made a great pass. He's an exceptional offensive player. He's got great instincts and a knack for scoring goals. I think he's an underrated playmaker, too," Stempniak said of Skinner. "I just went to the back post with my stick down. It was right on my tape and in the open net."
"The goal that was huge … [was the] goal to give us a little bit of breathing room, and then we were fine," Peters said.
The New Jersey Devils come into tonight's game winners of just two of their last 15 games.
"We're still a confident group," Stempniak said. "We're excited for each game."
CANESPR NOTES: Jeff Skinner has points in five straight games (6g, 2a) and goals in four straight games (6g). Skinner is one goal away from reaching the 30-goal mark for the third time in his career. … The Hurricanes have scored a power-play goal in three straight games, posting a 3-for-5 mark in that span.
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