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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, February 16th (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (27-22-8) at New Jersey Devils (22-30-4), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The sizzling New Jersey Devils will aim for a fifth straight victory when they host the Carolina Hurricanes this evening at the Prudential Center.

The Devils have been on a tear for over a month now, posting a 12-1-2 mark over their last 15 games. The hot streak has given hope to New Jersey's playoff chances, but the club is currently 14 points behind Carolina for the eighth and final postseason seed in the Eastern Conference.

In addition to winning four straight games, New Jersey has also gained a point so far in every one of its February contests. The Devils are 6-0-1 since their last regulation setback in Detroit on Jan. 26.

New Jersey has won its last three games without No. 1 goaltender Martin Brodeur and the Devils could be without the NHL's all-time wins leader again tonight. Brodeur is on injured reserve with a sprained right knee, and although he has been skating on his own, the veteran backstop is expected to be about a week away from returning to game action.

The Devils should be well-rested heading into tonight's tilt, as Jacques Lemaire's club hasn't played since posting a 2-1 win over the visiting San Jose Sharks on Friday.

New Jersey winger Ilya Kovalchuk has posted the game-winning goals in each of his club's last two victories. Kovalchuk potted the winner with 24 seconds left in last Thursday's overtime win against Toronto and he tallied with 3:59 remaining in regulation on the following night to lead the Devils to the win over the Sharks.

Brian Rolston tied the game with the Sharks on the power play 9:12 into the third, while Johan Hedberg made 31 stops for the Devils.

"All along we've been winning games that we come back in," said Rolston. "That is huge cause it shows that we're a hockey team that doesn't give up and our season is proving that."

The Devils have won two straight and six of their last seven home games. New Jersey, which is set to wrap a three-game homestand Friday against the rival New York Rangers, is 12-13-3 in Newark this season.

These two clubs have split a pair of meetings so far this year, with each team winning once at home. The Devils earned an overtime triumph when the clubs last met in New Jersey on Feb. 8 for their fifth victory in the last seven meetings overall.

The Hurricanes have also lost four straight and six out of seven in New Jersey.

Carolina picked up an important win in its last trip to the ice, defeating the Thrashers in a key battle for playoff positioning. The Hurricanes, who earned a 3-2 win Sunday in Atlanta, were tied for the eighth and final playoff seed in the East, but pulled two points ahead of the Thrashers with the victory.

Erik Cole scored with 1:19 to play to help the Hurricanes earn the close victory at Philips Arena. Jiri Tlusty and Joe Corvo each had a goal for the Hurricanes, who snapped a three-game slide. Cam Ward made 41 stops to secure the win.

"There's still plenty of hockey left to play and this is just one game," said Ward. "We know it's going to be a tough race right to the finish. That's why you gotta treat every single game like it's Game 7 of the playoffs. Teams are going to be competing."

This evening's tilt marks the end of a five-game road trip for the Hurricanes, who are 1-1-2 on the swing and 13-13-6 as the guest this season.

02/16 10:52:36 ET


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