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Friday, October 6th (All times eastern)

New Jersey Devils (0-0-0) at Carolina Hurricanes (0-0-1), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils open their 2006-07 season this evening when they take on the defending Stanley Cup-champion Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center.

The Hurricanes were the last team New Jersey faced before preparing for the offseason, as Carolina sent the Devils packing in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Devils new head coach Claude Julien will make his debut behind the bench tonight after taking over for president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, who assumed the coaching reins on December 19, 2005 following the resignation of Larry Robinson. Robinson stepped down due to health and family reasons.

New Jersey re-signed a few key players in the offseason in its quest for the Stanley Cup, including Scott Gomez, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Gionta and Patrik Elias, who was named the seventh team captain in franchise history on Tuesday. Gionta finished with a team-record 48 goals and posted 89 points last season, while Gomez recorded a Devils-best 51 assists.

Future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur is ready for another season after coming off the fifth 40-win campaign of his career last year. Brodeur, who went 43-23-7 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 2005-06, will get tested early inside the home of the defending champs.

The Devils are 17-7-7 in season openers and 6-7-2 when opening a campaign on the road.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes opened defense of their title on Wednesday with a 3-2 shootout loss against the Buffalo Sabres. Sabres wing Daniel Briere scored the only goal in the shootout at RBC Center and goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 32 shots and three Carolina players in the shootout.

Erik Cole and Eric Staal scored goals and Ray Whitney added two assists for the Hurricanes, who fell to a miserable 6-16-5 in season openers. Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward made 30 saves and also had an assist in the loss.

Carolina had a tough time against the Sabres after eliminating them in seven games during last years Eastern Conference finals. Not even the raising of their Stanley Cup banner could spark the Hurricanes to victory.

Carolina and New Jersey split the four regular-season matchups last season, with the Devils winning the last two. New Jersey has won four of the last six meetings and seven of 10 against Carolina.

10/06 10:23:17 ET


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