Tracking the Storm

Devil Deja Vu for Canes

Friday, 03.27.2009 / 12:20 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Devil Deja Vu for Canes
Besides the change in venue, tomorrow’s game at New Jersey is shaping up to be an awful lot like the last time the Hurricanes and Devils met on March 18.

Paul Branecky
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Of course, the Canes would gladly take the same result, a 4-2 victory, but there are some notable similarities from where we stand on Friday. The Devils will again be playing their second of back-to-back games (with travel involved), the first being against the Chicago Blackhawks, as was the case last week. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, will be coming off a few days of rest.

Although that should be a built-in advantage, Hurricanes Coach Paul Maurice isn’t sure that will be the case tomorrow.

“I think we look at our record on back-to-back nights, and we keep that into consideration when we see a team,” said Maurice, whose team is 11-3-0 on the second half of back-to-back games. “New Jersey’s success is always based on fundamentals and hard work. You know exactly what game they’re playing when they get off that plane. I think of all the teams in the NHL, the back-to-back probably affects Jersey less than most.”

Whether the Devils skaters are tired or not, the greatest significance of this situation may be that the Hurricanes could again dodge the NHL’s all-time wins leader, goaltender Martin Brodeur. He is expected to play in Chicago tonight, meaning the Canes could face backup Kevin Weekes again tomorrow.

Weekes stopped 28 shots in the last meeting and wasn’t necessarily the reason the Devils lost, but the benefit of the doubt should always go towards one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey history.

“Cleary [Brodeur] is the best in the world, but when he was out, their third goalie, Scotty [Clemmensen] went in and that team went on an absolute tear,” said Maurice. “That’s the strength that New Jersey has.”

The upcoming match-up with the Devils will be the Hurricanes only game in a seven-day period, which started after Wednesday’s win over Ottawa. Although the time to rest and heal minor injuries is undoubtedly a good thing, the Canes will have to be careful to maintain their momentum going forward.

“The rhythm of a schedule and the cadence of it is an important part of the feeling,” said Maurice. “I think we needed the two days off, but I’d certainly rather be playing Monday and get back into the rhythm of it.”

Scott Walker practiced with the team today and said he was “very close” to returning. He’s undergone a new therapy routine since his brief re-entry to the lineup earlier this month, and isn’t experiencing any of the symptoms that troubled him before. Maurice said earlier this week that he was a possibility to play tomorrow, and it would seem that nothing has changed since then.

Saturday’s game is the third of the season between Carolina and New Jersey, with the Hurricanes taking the first two meetings at home. Two of the Hurricanes’ six remaining regular season games are against the Devils, including both road games still on the schedule. That’s a lot of hockey in a short time against one team, and it could be even more with a potential first-round playoff match-up a definite possibility.

Since last week’s meeting, the Devils lost two of three, including defeats against Boston and Philadelphia to record their first losing streak since early January. Wouldn’t you know it, the Hurricanes had a part in that, beating the Devils 3-2 in Raleigh for the first game of that mini-slide.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72