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Hurricanes and Devils seek to bounce back

by Mike G. Morreale

HURRICANES (27-27-9) at DEVILS (27-24-13)


Last 10: Carolina 3-7-0; New Jersey 5-3-2

Season series: This is the third of four games between the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils. They split two games in a three-day span in late November, with the road team winning each time.

Big story: Devils forward Tuomo Ruutu and Hurricanes forward Andrei Loktionov will be facing their former teams for the first time since they changed jerseys at the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday. Ruutu spent the past six-plus seasons with the Hurricanes. Loktionov was acquired by the Devils in February 2013 and played in 76 games for New Jersey, logging 12 goals and 24 points. The Devils sent Loktionov and a conditional third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft to the Hurricanes in exchange for the 31-year-old Ruutu. Since returning from Sochi for bronze medal-winning Finland, Ruutu has no points and is minus-5 in six games.

Team Scope:

Hurricanes: Carolina lost its 10th straight game to the New York Rangers on Friday, a 4-2 setback at PNC Arena. Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner scored for the Hurricanes and Anton Khudobin, who was making his 20th start in the past 23 games, made 40 saves and was named the game's first star.

"We didn't get the job done and didn't execute," coach Kirk Muller said after his team failed to hold a 2-1 third-period lead following Skinner's penalty-shot goal. "We're all pros and you have to get the job done. We dropped our work ethic on the power-play and that's unacceptable."

Carolina allowed a shorthanded goal for the fourth time in the past five games.

There was speculation heading into the trade deadline that GM Jim Rutherford would deal a goalie. The Hurricanes have Khudobin, Justin Peters and Cam Ward looking for playing time. Rutherford told the media he listened to offers but did not feel a trade was necessary at this time.

"I listened to what other teams had to say," Rutherford said. "That's something I should do; you never know what might come up. But we had made a decision that our preference was to really take a good look at it in the summertime and see where we're going to go."

Devils: New Jersey's defense fell apart Friday in a 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Cory Schneider allowed a career-high seven goals, lost his second straight game and fell to 12-13-9 for the season.

"I expect more out of myself but we have to put the Detroit game behind us," Schneider said. "I needed to bear down and make that big save but the game got out of hand. You play enough games over the course of a season where you have games like that but I just have to put it behind me."

Coach Peter DeBoer was disappointed with his team's effort against the Red Wings.

"It was disappointing; not many people [for our team] were very good," DeBoer said. "We have to get a fix. Detroit played a very good game and, for whatever reason, we didn't. We knew we would get their best effort considering where they were in the standings and we didn't have a response and I don't know why. They were opportunistic and we didn't do enough."

Martin Brodeur, the expected starter on Saturday, is 38-16-6 with a 2.07 goals-against average and nine shutouts in 61 games against the Hurricanes. New Jersey has won seven of the last nine meetings against the Hurricanes at Prudential Center.

Who's hot: Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera has two goals and six points in the past six games. … Devils forward Patrik Elias scored Friday and has three goals and eight points in five games.

Injury report: Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk (upper body) has missed the past two games. … The Devils report no injuries.

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