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Thursday, March 15th (All times eastern)

New Jersey Devils (42-20-8) at Carolina Hurricanes (35-28-8), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Potential playoff combatants begin a home-and-home series this evening, as the Carolina Hurricanes welcome the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Devils to the RBC Center.

The Devils are second in the Eastern Conference and just two points behind Buffalo for the top spot. The Sabres will be playing at Florida this evening.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes come into Thursday tied with the New York Islanders for the seventh seed in the conference.

New Jersey will try to rebound from Wednesday evening's home loss to Pittsburgh. Jocelyn Thibault stopped 24 shots to post his first shutout of the season and the Penguins skated to the 3-0 triumph at Continental Airlines Arena.

Martin Brodeur gave up three goals on 22 shots for the Devils, who saw their two-game win streak ended.

Devils right wing Brian Gionta missed his third straight game with a groin injury and is questionable for this evening's contest. Gionta has been a key contributor for New Jersey this season, notching 24 goals and 20 assists in 59 games.

The Devils are 20-11-3 as the visiting club this season and, starting tonight, they will play six of their next seven games on the road.

The Hurricanes won for the second time in three games Tuesday as they disposed of the visiting Florida Panthers, 3-1. Scott Walker's goal with 15.3 seconds left in the second period proved to be the game-winner for Carolina.

Cory Stillman and Rod Brind'Amour also scored for the Hurricanes, while John Grahame stopped 26-of-27 shots, raising his record to 8-11-2.

Grahame was starting in place of injured No. 1 netminder Cam Ward, who will miss at least two more games after sustaining a cut to his knee that required 11 stitches.

Tonight completes a brief two-game homestand for the Hurricanes, who are 18-13-4 as the host club this season.

The Devils have taken both matchups with the Hurricanes this season. New Jersey has won four straight and six of the last eight meetings with Carolina and the Devils have walked away victorious in seven of their last nine trips to Raleigh.

The teams will meet again Saturday afternoon in New Jersey.

03/15 11:01:47 ET


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