New Jersey Devils (33-28-16) at Carolina Hurricanes (34-32-11), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils are coming off a crucial victory
in their chase for a playoff spot and the club hopes to win for a third time
in four games when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
The Devils notched a 2-1 regulation victory Friday night against visiting
Washington. With the win, New Jersey leapfrogged the Capitals in the Eastern
Conference standings and moved within three points of Columbus for the second
wild-card spot. The Blue Jackets, who lost to Chicago on Friday, have 85
points, followed by Toronto with 84.
Ryan Carter scored the game-winner with 4:54 remaining to help the Devils edge
Washington in the important battle at Prudential Center.
Tuomo Ruutu recorded New Jersey's other goal and Cory Schneider stopped 24
shots for the Devils, who picked up at least one point for the sixth straight
game (3-0-3) to keep their playoff hopes alive.
"It was a gutsy win for us," Schneider said. "That was a pretty signature win
for us. Hopefully it's not too late."
Martin Brodeur could get the start in net on Saturday for the Devils. New
Jersey also enters tonight's contest with a ton of injured players, including
ones to forwards Patrik Elias and Adam Henrique, who expect to sit out
Saturday. Defenseman and team captain Bryce Salvador also is among the wounded
player with a lower-body injury, but he could play on Saturday.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have an even slimmer chance of making the
postseason than the Devils. Carolina is three points behind New Jersey and six
points out of a playoff spot.
Carolina, which last made the playoffs in 2009, has recorded wins in two
straight outings and is 3-0-2 over its past five trips to the ice. The club
notched a 4-1 win over visiting Dallas on Thursday, with defenseman
John-Michael Liles providing a goal and two assists during a second-period
Liles set up scores from Eric Staal and Justin Faulk that staked the
Hurricanes to a 2-0 advantage before adding a power-play tally later in the
"Tonight was his best game," Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said of Liles.
"With the guys that were out of the lineup, we needed veteran guys to step up,
and he was one guy I thought played really well tonight."
Anton Khudobin made the lead stand with a sharp 33-save effort in Carolina's
second impressive win in three days. The Hurricanes returned home off
Tuesday's 4-1 road decision over Metropolitan Division leader Pittsburgh.
"It's a matter of all getting on the same page, and I think tonight we were
all pretty well on the same page," Liles said.
Carolina has five games left on its regular-season schedule and Saturday's
tilt is the club's penultimate home tilt. The 'Canes are 18-15-6 as the host
New Jersey has won two straight against the Hurricanes since dropping a 4-3
regulation decision on home ice in the season-series opener on Nov. 27. The
Devils have won nine of 13 overall against Carolina and has claimed the last
two meetings in Raleigh.
04/05 10:53:11 ET
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