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Devils look to extend home win streak vs. Hurricanes

by Mike G. Morreale
HURRICANES (5-6-3) at DEVILS (6-5-1)


Last 10:
Carolina 4-4-2; New Jersey 5-4-1

Season series:
This is the second of four meetings this season between the two Eastern Conference foes. The Devils scored a 4-2 victory at Prudential Center back on Oct. 10 as Ilya Kovalchuk scored the deciding goal and added two assists. Zach Parise scored twice and Mark Fayne connected for a goal to lead the Devils to their sixth straight home triumph over Carolina. The clubs will next meet Dec. 26 in Raleigh.

Big story: The Devils are winners of two straight following decisions over the Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets. The Hurricanes have not only lost two straight but six of their last eight and are in dire need of a solid all-round effort to break the slide. The team could use a boost on the power-play. While the team did strike for two goals with the man advantage in a loss to Dallas on Sunday, it still ranks 22nd in the League (10-for-69) with a 14.5 percent efficiency. The Devils are third in the League on the penalty-kill with a 91.3 percent efficiency (killing 42 of 46).

Team Scope:

Hurricanes: Carolina lost to the Dallas Stars, 5-2, for the fifth time in six meetings on Sunday. Starting goalie Cam Ward (5-4-2) stopped 10 of 14 shots before being relieved by Brian Boucher at 3:48 of the second with the Stars holding a 4-1 advantage. Chad LaRose and Tuomo Ruutu scored power-play goals for Carolina.

"This is a physical man's game and we were trying to play on skill, and that's just not going to get it done for us," coach Paul Maurice told reporters after the loss to Dallas. "We were soft on pucks all over the ice, and lost every battle on pucks that got dumped in."

Devils: Despite the absences of Kovalchuk (lower body), injured centers Travis Zajac (Achilles tendon) and Jacob Josefson (broken clavicle) and offensive-defenseman Andy Greene (lower body), the Devils pulled out a 3-2 overtime decision over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday when rookie Adam Henrique connected for the first two-goal game of his career. Henrique, drafted in the third round (No. 82) by the Devils in 2008, zipped home a shot off a breakaway with 3:32 remaining in OT to give the Devils their sixth win in 12 games this season. It took the team 21 games to pick up its sixth win in 2010-11.

Who's hot: Carolina forward Jeff Skinner has points in three straight games (2 goals, 2 assists). … Devils goalie Johan Hedberg is 4-0-0 over the last two seasons against the Hurricanes. "Moose" made 24 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Hurricanes on Oct. 10. Offensively for the Devils, Henrique has 3 goals and 5 points over the last three games.

Injury report: Hurricanes left wing Jussi Jokinen (lower body) missed his second straight game against the Stars and remains day-to-day. … Devils forwards Zajac and Josefson are out; Kovalchuk and Greene are day-to-day.

Stat pack:
Devils forward Patrik Elias, who has a team-leading 6 goals and 11 points, is riding a four-game point scoring streak (2 goals, 2 assists). Elias has 341 career goals, leaving him six shy of equaling John MacLean's franchise record.

Puck drop:
Carolina is 0-3-0 when trailing after the first period and 0-4-2 when trailing after two periods. … The Devils' penalty kill is perfect on home ice this season (24-for-24) after denying three Winnipeg power-plays while allowing just two shots on Saturday.

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