The New Jersey Devils will look to string together consecutive wins for the first time in six weeks when they face the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-CR).
The Devils, who defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 on Tuesday in their final game before the NHL's three-day holiday break, can pass the idle Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference standings into the second wild card for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with two points. Their most recent winning streak came when they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Nov. 12 and the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 on Nov. 14.
"We talked about it again today that we felt good about that win in Detroit, so we want to keep that good feeling going and some of the good things we did," goaltender Cory Schneider told Northjersey.com. "This is the time of year now where you've got to start to putting together streaks if you want to be a playoff team. We can be a good team or a nice team, but unless we start kind of distancing ourselves from the teams behind us or start catching teams in front of us, it's not going to mean much."
Schneider will make his League-leading 30th start in goal against Cam Ward for Carolina.
The Hurricanes come out of the break eight points behind the Devils in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand. They're focused on a better showing after losing 5-1 to New Jersey at home on Dec. 3.
"Guys remember that we didn't play very well or compete hard enough," coach Bill Peters told the Hurricanes website. "I think we did some good things in bringing in some young guys who have stayed in our lineup since then. Obviously we were disappointed in our effort that night, and I don't want to be disappointed leaving the game here tonight."
Here are the projected lineups:
Michael Cammalleri - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak
Jiri Tlusty - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
Sergey Kalinin - Jacob Josefson - Tyler Kennedy
Tuomo Ruutu - Stephen Gionta - Jordin Tootoo
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
John Moore - Damon Severson
Eric Gelinas - David Schlemko
Injured: Patrik Elias (knee), Bobby Farnham (shoulder)
Scratched: Jon Merrill, Stefan Matteau
Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Ryan Malone - Jay McClement - Riley Nash
Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Jaccob Slavin
Injured: Nathan Gerbe (lower body), James Wisniewski (knee)
Scratched: Chris Terry, Michal Jordan
Status report: Elias did not travel with the Devils and will be out of the lineup for a third straight game. Coach John Hynes said Elias was scheduled to be checked by doctors Saturday. Gelinas re-enters the lineup in place of Merrill.
Who's hot: Palmieri had a goal and an assist against the Red Wings prior to the break. In 35 games, he already has tied his career-high of 14 goals set in 2013-14 and matched last season with the Anaheim Ducks. Schneider has a .925 save percentage, eighth-best in the NHL.