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At the Rink: Hurricanes at Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- Coach Bill Peters doesn't hide the fact that the Carolina Hurricanes will likely be sellers at the NHL Trade Deadline on March 2.

The Hurricanes will play the New Jersey Devils, another team that could unload a few high-profile veterans at the deadline, at Prudential Center on Saturday.

"It's an unfortunate thing that we're sellers; nobody is hiding from that fact, and we put ourselves in this situation and we have to live with it," Peters said following the Hurricanes' morning skate. "You can tell the mood around the room isn't what it was. It's not as upbeat because there's a lot of uncertainty. A lot of guys are wondering what their future holds, so that's understandable and that's human nature."

Among those Carolina players rumored to be in high demand at the deadline are forwards Patrick Dwyer and Jiri Tlusty and defenseman Andrej Sekera.

"Our general manager has the facts, I don't worry about the rumors," Peters said. "He tells me who's available and who's not available. [General manager Ron Francis] has done a good job, and we do it together with a short- or long-term plan in mind."

In the end, Peters said players just need to do their jobs.

"They're true pros and they continue to play hard," he said. "So for the two-and-a-half hours of game time you have to focus on the task at hand, and that's what we'll do."

Peters will start goalie Anton Khudobin against the Devils. Khudobin is 2-1-0 with a 3.04 goals-against average and .879 save percentage in four career games against New Jersey, including a 2-1 shootout victory Dec. 23. The Devils will counter with goaltender Keith Kinkaid, who will be making his first career start against the Hurricanes.

The Devils, who won eight of the past 11 games against the Hurricanes at Prudential Center, have won the first two of their six-game homestand. New Jersey earned a 4-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday, when Cory Schneider made 21 saves. The Devils did not practice Saturday.

Cam Ward played in his 499th game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday and will become the fifth active NHL goalie to have played 500 games with his next start, which will likely come on home ice against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller, Henrik Lundqvist and Marc-Andre Fleury are the others.

Here are the projected lineups:


Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Jiri Tlusty

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin

Nathan Gerbe - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Andrej Nestrasil - Jay McClement - Patrick Dwyer

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk

Tim Gleason - John-Michael Liles

Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore

Anton Khudobin

Cam Ward

Scratched: Brad Malone, Chris Terry, Michal Jordan

Injured: Ryan Murphy (lower body)


Tuomo Ruutu - Scott Gomez - Jaromir Jagr

Adam Henrique - Patrik Elias - Steve Bernie

Mike Cammalleri - Travis Zajac - Jordin Tootoo

Dainius Zubrus - Jacob Josefson - Stephen Gionta

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

Jon Merrill - Marek Zidlicky

Eric Gelinas - Peter Harrold

Keith Kinkaid

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Michael Ryder, Mark Fraser, Martin Havlat

Injured: Damon Severson (fractured left ankle), Bryce Salvador (back), Ryane Clowe (concussion)

Status report: Dwyer returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch against the Maple Leafs and will play right wing alongside left wing Nestrasil and center McClement. … Gleason is a game-time decision. If he is unable to play, Jordan, who was recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Saturday, will be his replacement.

Who's hot: Faulk has seven points, all assists, in his past six games. … Elias has a goal in back-to-back games and four goals in his past seven games.

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