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Hurricanes look to finish road trip on a high

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller opted to give his players the morning off Tuesday following a big road victory against the New York Islanders less than 24 hours earlier.

The Hurricanes, who now sit atop the Southeast Division and are third in the Eastern Conference, are 3-1-1 on their six-game road trip, which concludes Tuesday against the conference-leading New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

"I think our game against the Islanders might have been our best game of the whole road trip," Muller told reporters Monday after his team's 6-4 victory. "We just keep finding ways to win right now."

Muller also said he believes his players are beginning to find chemistry with their new linemates, which has made a huge difference.

"We have seven new faces in the lineup this year and we're trying to keep the lines consistent and it's just starting to look like they're getting their feel for each other right now," Muller said. "I think the teams that have an early advantage early on are those who didn't make a lot of offseason personnel changes, so that's why we're trying to keep the lines intact up front."

Muller is expected to give goalie Cam Ward his fifth straight start. Ward, 3-0-1 in his past four starts, is 4-3-1 with a 3.37 goals-against average and .900 save percentage this season. He is 7-11-2 all-time against the Devils, with a 2.75 GAA and .902 save percentage.

"He's one of the best in the business and we're going to have to get traffic in front of him, going to have to get a lot of chances in order to get a few goals on [Ward]," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "In my opinion, this game will be another low-scoring, tight-checking game for us and we've got to be prepared to try and win 2-1. That's the mindset."

Here is the likely lineup for the Hurricanes against the Devils:

Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Alexander Semin

Jeff Skinner - Jordan Staal - Patrick Dwyer

Drayson Bowman - Jussi Jokinen - Chad LaRose

Andreas Nodl - Tim Brent - Tim Wallace

Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk

Tim Gleason - Joe Corvo

Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain

Cam Ward

Dan Ellis

Injured: Tuomo Ruuttu

Scratched: Kevin Westgarth, Bobby Sanguinetti


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