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Recap: Canes Drop Divisional Match-Up to Devils

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Analysis from Raleigh

→ On the heels of a shootout victory the night prior, the Carolina Hurricanes were hoping to come home, build off the win and establish some momentum. The New Jersey Devils, who came into tonight's game winless in five tries on the road to start the season, had different ideas, and the Hurricanes fell 4-1 to a divisional opponent.

"We didn't have much going early," head coach Bill Peters said. "We need to get on the board earlier. We need a little momentum."

Video: CAR Recap: Nestrasil scores Canes' lone goal in loss

→ Led by Michael Cammalleri, who scored his first three goals of the season in natural hat-trick fashion, and Keith Kinkaid, who made 33 saves on 34 shots, the Devils got out in front of the Hurricanes in the second period and locked it down from there.

"They play hard. They're a team that eliminates a lot of space and time with the puck. They counter well," Lee Stempniak said. "Once they got the two-goal lead, they were content to sit back and defend."

The Hurricanes dominated the shot totals in the second period, 14-2, but the Devils made those two shots count. Cammalleri scored on both of them, one a quick hitter in the slot and another a blocker-side tally that beat Eddie Lack.

"He's got a great release," Stempniak said of Cammalleri, whose last hat-trick came on Feb. 13, 2013. "He doesn't need a ton of space."

"I don't mind the fact that we gave up minimal shots in the second," Peters said of his team's effort. "You're doing something right if you're giving up two shots."

The Hurricanes also had three power plays in the second period but failed to convert on any of them. After scoring seven power-play goals in their first seven games, the Hurricanes have now gone without a goal on the man advantage in four straight.

"It seems like we're not getting in as cleanly as we were earlier in the year," Stempniak said. "The best power plays seem to have guys that shoot the puck a lot and get those second and third chances."

"It comes down to execution, confidence and all five guys doing their part," Peters said. "You've got to exceed [the penalty killers'] work ethic and execute."

A fourth of Kinkaid's career victories (four of 16) have come against the Hurricanes.

"Their goalie played well. He made some nice saves," Stempniak said.

Andrej Nestrasil broke Kinkaid's shutout in the third period with his first goal of the season, a confidence booster for the young forward who has worked his way back into the lineup after suffering a back injury last season. Nestrasil led all skaters on the ice tonight with eight shots.

"It should get better each and every time he takes the ice, whether it's a game or practice," Peters said of Nestrasil's game.

Video: Hear from Lack, Staal and Peters Postgame

→ Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk left the game in the third period and did not return with an undisclosed injury. It probably doesn't need to be said, but an injury to the Canes' workhorse, All-Star, Olympic defenseman would be damaging. Peters did not have an update on Faulk after the game.

→ The good news for the Hurricanes is they can look to reverse their fortunes against these same Devils on Tuesday night in New Jersey.

"Yeah, we're going to have a better effort," Staal said.

"For us, it's a huge bounce-back game," Stempniak said. "It's a division opponent. We'll rebound."

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