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Devils shuffle lines, defensive pairs, for Hurricanes

by Mike G. Morreale

HURRICANES (15-16-5) at DEVILS (17-14-5)


NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach John Hynes hopes to see more offensive accountability Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes at Prudential Center.

Hynes isn't satisfied with the fact the Devils have not won two straight games since Nov. 12 and Nov. 14. The Devils are 7-8-4 since their last back-to-back victories.

As a result, Hynes will not only juggle his offensive lines, but his defense pairs.

"When there's an opportunity to make a play and you have time and space, we want to be able to make plays and not just get rid of the puck," Hynes said. "When you're in scoring situations and scoring areas the decision is that there is a shot versus a pass.

"The game is transitional so if you're just going to be a player that's going to defend harder than you play offense, there needs to be more accountability to produce offense and play in the offensive zone to be a threatening team."

The Devils held an optional morning skate Tuesday but the most notable lineup change Monday had Travis Zajac centering left wing Mike Cammalleri and right wing Kyle Palmieri on the top line. The first line usually featured Cammalleri with center Adam Henrique and right wing Lee Stempniak.

"We haven't been at our best so [the coaching staff] is just trying to freshen the lines and get some energy and hopefully get things moving in the right direction," Zajac said.

Henrique was centering left wing Jiri Tlusty and right wing Tyler Kennedy, and Stempniak was on the third line. Defensively, John Moore was moved alongside captain Andy Greene.

"We've kept the group together for quite a long time and there were a lot of good results from that," Hynes said. "But the other part is guys can't get so reliable on just one player. What if someone gets hurt? We want to make sure that as we go through the season we have different pairs and different line combinations and guys can play. That makes us a stronger and versatile team."

Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid will make his first start in four games. He is 2-1-0 with a 1.58 goals-against average in three games against the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes defeated the Devils 3-1 in Raleigh, N.C., three days ago and are 7-3-1 since Dec. 3, including 4-0-1 in their past five road games. Carolina did not skate Tuesday.

Goalie Cam Ward will start for the Hurricanes. Ward is 11-14-2 with a 2.72 GAA in 27 games against the Devils.

Here are the projected lineups:


Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe

Chris Terry - Jay McClement - Riley Nash

John-Michael Liles - Justin Faulk

Jaccob Slavin - Ron Hainsey

Noah Hanifin - Brett Pesce

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Injured: Nathan Gerbe (lower body), James Wisniewski (knee)

Scratched: Michal Jordan, Brad Malone


Mike Cammalleri - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Jiri Tlusty - Adam Henrique - Tyler Kennedy

Sergey Kalinin - Jacob Josefson - Lee Stempniak

Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Jordin Tootoo

Andy Greene - John Moore

Adam Larsson - David Schlemko

Damon Severson - Jon Merrill

Keith Kinkaid

Cory Schneider

Injured: Patrik Elias (knee)

Illness: Tuomo Ruutu

Scratched: Stefan Matteau, Eric Gelinas

Status report: Lindholm did not practice on Monday for reasons unknown and Peters called him a game-time decision. If Lindholm can't play, Malone is the likely replacement. … Elias, who has not played since a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 19, was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 21 and will miss his fourth straight game. ... Farnham was activated off injured reserve. He has missed the past eight games with a shoulder strain. ... Ruutu, who did not practice Monday or Tuesday, is day-to-day.

Who's hot: Pesce has one goal and six points in his past eight games. … Palmieri has six goals and 10 points in his past 11 games.

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