GAME: Carolina Hurricanes (17-26-11-2) at New Jersey Devils (28-16-10-1).
TIME: Saturday, Noon EST.
Although the New Jersey Devils are struggling, it's probably not time to
push the panic button yet.
That could change, however, should their longest losing streak of the season
reach four when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
After suffering a 4-0 loss to Vancouver just before the All-Star break on
Feb. 5, the Devils have continued to struggle offensively. They lost 4-1 at
Philadelphia on Tuesday and were beaten 3-1 by the New York Rangers on
The three-game losing streak is New Jersey's longest since a four-game skid
from Nov. 13-18, 2001.
The Devils have dropped nine points behind the Atlantic Division-leading
Flyers and fallen into sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
"The rope is not hanging at home where I'm going to throw myself off a
chair, even though some of you would like to see it," Devils coach Pat Burns
said. "We're in a little drought scoring-wise and it'll come around."
Although he is not much of an offensive contributor, New Jersey clearly
isn't the same team without captain Scott Stevens. In the 16 games Stevens has
missed with post-concussion syndrome, the Devils are 7-8-1.
One player the Devils need production from is center Scott Gomez, who has no
goals and four assists in his last 15 games. Another forward struggling to
score is right wing Jamie Langenbrunner, who has no goals in six games since
returning from a bruised knee that sidelined him two months. Langenbrunner
hasn't scored in his last 11 contests.
Carolina has been all but eliminated from the playoff race, sitting in 13th
place in the East with lots of ground to make up on the eighth-place New York
Pavel Brendl's goal with 5:03 left in regulation helped the struggling
Hurricanes salvage a point with a 3-3 tie against Washington on Thursday.
Marty Murray and Sean Hill also scored for Carolina, 0-3-2 in its last five.
"We needed to win a hockey game," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said.
"We had lots of possession time, lots of Grade-A scoring opportunities and no
results. It's frustrating."
Carolina is 9-14-3 since Laviolette took over as coach Dec. 15. The
Hurricanes were 8-12-8-1 under Paul Maurice.