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Devils-Hurricanes Preview

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GAME: New Jersey Devils at Carolina Hurricanes.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference semifinals; Hurricanes lead 1-0.

TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.

The New Jersey Devils entered their Eastern Conference semifinal series without suffering a loss in more than a month. It took only one game for that to change.

The Carolina Hurricanes handed the Devils their worst defeat of the entire season in Game 1. New Jersey looks to bounce back and even the series when the teams meet again at RBC Center.

The Hurricanes ended New Jersey's 15-game winning streak with a 6-0 rout on Saturday. It was the Devils' first loss since March 26, and goaltender Martin Brodeur's most-lopsided defeat in 149 career postseason games.

"We wanted to send a message early and play a great game in our building and we did," Carolina center Doug Weight said. "Having said that, it's only 1-0 in the series and we have nothing to be big-chested about right now."

The Devils, who had trailed for only 4:39 in their entire first-round series against the New York Rangers, failed to generate many scoring chances on Saturday.

New Jersey had just 12 shots through the first two periods, as Hurricanes rookie goalie Cam Ward finished with 21 saves for his first career playoff shutout.

The 22-year-old Ward has won his first five postseason starts since relieving an ineffective Martin Gerber midway through Game 2 against Montreal in the first round.

Brodeur, who is one playoff win away from moving into sole possession of third place on the all-time list with 89 victories, struggled against Carolina after posting a 1.00 goals-against average and one shutout in the first-round sweep of the Rangers.

"Losing 6-0 in the first game of the series is not something to look back on," Brodeur said. "A lot of things went wrong. I don't think you can point at one thing."

The three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie was pulled in the third period after allowing six goals on 29 shots. He has lost seven of his last nine road playoff games.

"I can guarantee you New Jersey will be ready for Game 2 regardless of the score today," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "Any time you don't have success your back is a little further up against the wall, so they are going to be ready and we'll have to make sure we match their intensity."

The Devils have responded well in Game 2s after losing Game 1 in the playoffs, going 12-4 all-time in those situations. They have gone on to win the series on eight of those 16 occasions.

Ray Whitney scored two goals for the Hurricanes, who have won five straight postseason games for the first time in franchise history. Carolina scored five power-play goals in eight opportunities.

"We have to play as good or better on Monday night, so we're not tooting our own horn here, or thinking we're something special now," Whitney said.

Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour had a goal and an assist in Game 1 and has a six-game point streak with five goals and three assists. Eric Staal had a goal and two assists on Saturday, and has three goals and eight assists in his last five games.

"The thing you've got to remember, it's just one win, it's one out of four," Laviolette said. "You'd rather have it in the bank, but there's still a lot of work left."

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Devils - 101 points; 3rd seed, defeated New York Rangers 4-0 in quarterfinals. Hurricanes - 112 points; 2nd seed, defeated Montreal Canadiens 4-2 in quarterfinals.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Patrick Elias, 5 goals and 11 points; Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner, 6 assists; Cam Janssen, 26 PIM. Hurricanes - Brind'Amour, 5 goals; Staal, 8 assists and 11 points; Weight, 12 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Devils - Power play: 25.0 percent (8 for 32). Penalty killing: 75.9 percent (22 for 29). Hurricanes - Power play: 29.0 percent (11 for 38). Penalty killing: 81.2 percent (26 for 32).

GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (4-1, 1 SO, 2.05 GAA); Scott Clemmensen (0-0, 0, 0.00). Hurricanes - Ward (5-0-1, 1, 1.29); Gerber (0-1, 0, 7.20)

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