(Sports Network) - A couple of playoff-hopeful teams in desperate need of a
win will meet Thursday night in Raleigh, as the Carolina Hurricanes welcome
the New Jersey Devils for an important Eastern Conference clash at PNC Arena.
The Devils and Hurricanes enter Thursday locked in a three-way tie for the
seventh seed in the East. Carolina and New Jersey have 32 points on the
season, as do the New York Rangers, who are hosting the Florida Panthers on
After losing a pair of regulation decisions against Carolina this season, the
Devils will get one last chance to beat the Hurricanes in this third and final
scheduled encounter of the campaign.
Although Carolina has won three of the past four meetings, the Devils still
have six victories in the last nine encounters overall. However, New Jersey
hasn't fared well recently in the Tar Heel State, losing seven of 10 at PNC
Both Carolina and Jersey will try to halt losing streaks on Thursday. The
Devils enter this contest on a three-game skid (0-2-1) and the 'Canes are
0-3-1 during a season-worst four-game slide.
The Devils hope the return of goaltender Martin Broduer can get them back in
the win column. Brodeur has been out since Feb. 21 due to back soreness, but
the future Hall of Famer will return to the crease Thursday after missing 13
games. New Jersey went 3-8-2 in Brodeur's absence.
Johan Hedberg started every game while Brodeur was sidelined and he took a 3-2
loss Tuesday against the visiting Rangers. Rick Nash scored the deciding goal
7:25 into the second period to help lift New York to the win.
Travis Zajac and Anton Volchenkov had the goals for New Jersey, with Hedberg
stopping 19-of-22 shots in the Devils' third consecutive setback.
Although both Carolina and Jersey lost on Tuesday, the Hurricanes suffered the
more disturbing setback of the two, dropping a 4-1 home decision against the
league-worst Panthers. Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves and the Panthers scored
all of their goals in the third period to earn just their eighth win in 30
games this season.
Dan Ellis' 40 saves went for naught as the Hurricanes went 0-for-3 on the
power play. Jordan Staal spoiled Markstrom's shutout bid with 2:33 left in the
game, but the damage had already been done.
"They outworked us, that's all it comes down to," said Ellis. "They created
havoc and they executed."
Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk suffered a sprained knee ligament in the loss
and will be out for the next 2-to-4 weeks. Faulk is leading the Hurricanes in
ice time this season and is also second among the club's defensemen with 10
The Hurricanes, who are two points behind the Southeast Division-leading
Winnipeg Jets, haven't lost five in a row since an 0-6-1 losing streak from
Nov. 23-Dec. 6 of last season.
Carolina is 7-7-0 on home ice this season and the Devils are 4-6-4 as the
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