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Gameday: Devils vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

"Well it's Friday night, I'm gonna have some fun tonight."

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information you need to know for tonight's Metropolitan Division battle between the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes. Make Hurricanes.com a regular stop throughout the day, as we update this hub with notes, videos, photos and more as puck drop draws near.

On the second half of a back-to-back with travel, the Hurricanes will not hold a morning skate. We'll chat with Bill Peters in the evening to get the latest.

Last updated: 7:10 p.m.


CANES LINES: WARM-UPS
7:10 p.m.

As mentioned earlier, the Hurricanes won't make any changes to their lineup after last night's 4-1 win in Philadelphia.

McGinn-Staal-Williams
Aho-Lindholm-Teravainen
Skinner-Wallmark-Di Giuseppe
Rask-Ryan-Stempniak

Slavin-Pesce
Hanifin-Faulk
Fleury-van Riemsdyk

Ward
Darling

The puck drops at PNC Arena in 30 minutes!

Tweet from @NHLCanes: Cam Ward leads the #Canes on to the ice. #NJDvsCAR pic.twitter.com/uCzPMpeUcA


CANES TO KEEP LINEUP THE SAME, WARD WILL START
5:40 p.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes won't make any lineup changes following last night's 4-1 win in Philadelphia, and that includes starting Cam Ward in a back-to-back situation for the first time this season.

"He just played real well," Canes head coach Bill Peters said. "He hasn't been overly worked here in the last two weeks, so I thought it was an opportunity to go back-to-back and reward a real solid performance."

The team will also utilize the same group of six defenseman, though the pairs will be shuffled to feature Slavin-Pesce, Hanifin-Faulk and Fleury-van Riemsdyk.

After returning to game action last night in Philadelphia, Jordan Staal will appear for the first time at home since Feb. 18.

"It was awesome. It was great to see him," Peters said. "He was in real good spirits. He provides a lot to us on the ice, and it was good to have him in the room also."


BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
3:00 p.m.

TV's Mike Maniscalco previews tonight's Metropolitan Division showdown with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.

Video: Tools to Victory: NJ vs CAR


CANES, DEVILS MEET AGAIN
2:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils are set to face off for the third time in 16 days on Friday, the third of four meetings between the two Metropolitan Division opponents.

The two teams met twice in a four-day span in mid-February, with the Devils winning 5-2 in New Jersey and the Hurricanes then grabbing a point in 3-2 overtime loss in Raleigh.

Friday's divisional showdown comes on the heels of a 4-1 Hurricanes win in Phiadelphia on Thursday night. It was a big two points for the Hurricanes, who snapped a six-game winless streak (0-4-2) and halted the Flyers' six-game winning streak.

"It was huge for us. It was such a good team effort from us," said Sebastian Aho, who notched a goal and an assist. "I hope we can build on this."

The Hurricanes now sit just two points out of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

"It's March 1. They're all big, especially for us where we're sitting," said Justin Williams, who recorded three points (2g, 1a). "We're realists. We need to string together some wins like we unfortunately strung together some losses."

Jordan Staal returned to the Hurricanes' lineup in Philadelphia after taking time to be with his wife, Heather, and their family following the loss of their infant daughter, Hannah.

In his return, Staal provided an emotional and tangible, physical boost. He logged an assist, a shot, a team-high three hits, a blocked shot and a plus-1 rating in 18:07 of ice time. Staal was also 11-for-17 (65 percent) in the faceoff circle.

"Having the big man, No. 11, back in the lineup is a huge hole that's plugged. He takes away one great line whoever he plays against," Williams said. "He's a lift, spiritually and physically on the ice. You know he's going to make the right play and you know he's going to win the battle. As his linemate playing tonight, you know he's going to get the puck to you when it's a one-on-one battle. … He's a very important piece for us, clearly. Happy to have him back."

The Devils were also in action on Thursday night, as they fell 3-2 to the Florida Panthers. Friday's match wraps up a three-game road swing and caps the team's 13th back-to-back set. With 74 points, the Devils have a firm grasp on the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and are pressing for a top three spot in the Metropolitan Division.

CANESPR NOTES: Teuvo Teravainen and Aho have combined for 18 points (8g, 10a) in their last 10 games. The two rank tied for first on the team in scoring with 50 points each. … The Canes are 23-8-5 this season when scoring first, and the team is tied for sixth in the league in goals scored in the first period (60).


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