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Southeast-leading Hurricanes play host to Devils

by Brian Hunter

DEVILS (11-8-5) at HURRICANES (13-9-1)


Last 10: New Jersey 2-6-2; Carolina 5-5-0

Season series: Second of three meetings. Jiri Tlusty scored a pair of third-period goals to lead Carolina to a 4-2 win in New Jersey on Feb. 12.

Big story: Each team has goaltending questions heading into the second half of the season. The Devils have been without Martin Brodeur for the past couple weeks and still don't seem sure when he'll be back. The Hurricanes may be without Cam Ward for the rest of the regular season.

Team Scope:

Devils: In danger of matching its longest losing streak in 27 years, New Jersey staged a late rally Thursday night against Buffalo at Prudential Center. Trailing 2-0 with under seven minutes to play, Adam Henrique struck on a power play to get the Devils on the board. Then, with Johan Hedberg heading to the bench for the extra attacker, David Clarkson's shot rebounded out to Patrik Elias for the game-tying goal with 1:06 remaining. Clarkson and Elias also teamed up for the only goals in the shootout, and the Devils snapped an 0-5-1 skid with a 3-2 victory.

"It's a nice one to get," Henrique said. "We can take a little extra breath. Moose [Hedberg] was great for us throughout and in the shootout. He made some big saves at the big times. We knew what we needed to do and kept our heads up the whole game. Their goalie [Jhonas Enroth] played great game, but we never quit."

Hurricanes: In the two games following Ward's MCL sprain, Carolina has elected to go with young call-up Justin Peters over veteran Dan Ellis. The 26-year-old Peters, who had 28 games of NHL experience with the Hurricanes prior to this season, won his season debut with a 37-save performance against the Sabres, but he was victimized for four goals on 28 shots in Thursday's 4-2 loss against the Canadiens. Jordan Staal and Drayson Bowman scored for the Hurricanes, who remain in first place in the Southeast Division.

"We didn't keep the pressure on them," Staal told the Raleigh News & Observer. "We kind of lost our hunger for the puck. One little mistake and it's in the back of our net, and we took one too many penalties as well and it cost us. Against a team that plays well defensively, it's tough to come back."

Who's hot: Henrique and Elias each have goals in consecutive games for the Devils. … Tlusty was held off the board Thursday, but still has 11 goals in the Hurricanes' past 14 games. Linemate Alexander Semin had 12 points in six games before he was also blanked by the Canadiens.

Injury report: Brodeur (back) is likely out through at least the weekend. Defenseman Henrik Tallinder missed Thursday's game with a lower-body injury. Forward Dainius Zubrus (wrist) is on injured reserve. … Carolina activated forward Tim Brent (lower body) off injured reserve on Friday. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen (lower body) and forwards Chad LaRose (concussion) and Riley Nash (illness) are day-to-day. Ward and forward Tuomo Ruutu are on injured reserve.

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