With the lockout done and the schedule for this shortened season already decided, The Devils’ Den will give you an in-depth look at the team’s opponents this season. We kicked things off with a look at two Northeast division teams, but today we’ll move south for our preview of the Carolina Hurricanes.
There’s a renewed sense of optimism surrounding the Carolina Hurricanes.
Despite missing the postseason for the third straight season, and finishing last in the Southeast Division, the Hurricanes were one of the teams itching for the lockout to end. A draft-day trade for Jordan Staal gives the team a big weapon down the middle, and the addition of sniper Alex Semin could turn into one of the best bargain signings by general manager Jim Rutherford.
Kirk Muller took over after a 4-10-2 November swoon last season, and brought the Hurricanes back from dead. At one point, the team sat just five points out of the playoffs before losing four of their last five games.
Carolina had a ton of momentum carrying them before the lockout. Can they find it again and contend for a spot in the top eight?
Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the 2011-2012 schedule, breaking down matchups and providing in-depth analysis of their opponents. Today, we the preview this season’s matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes.
The mention of the Carolina Hurricanes still paints a painful picture in the minds of every New Jersey Devils’ fan. Just two short years ago, the Carolina scored two goals in 80 seconds to knock New Jersey out of the playoffs. Since then, New Jersey hasn’t found success in the playoffs. Their meetings, however, are definitely more heated.
The ‘Canes came up just short of the playoffs last season, missing out by one point. The Devils helped hold them back, winning three of four against them. Carolina lost one of the faces of their franchise, but has another upcoming. Always a playoff contender, the Devils will once again face a tough test against their southern rivals.
The History Behind The Matchup
In 113 meetings, New Jersey is 58-41-2 with 12 ties against Carolina. They’ve averaged 3.19 goals for during the head-to-head matchup (360 total) and only allow 2.96 goals against per meeting (335 total). They’re the only opponent that’s played over 100 games against the Devils and averaged less than three goals per game.
The Devils and Canes squared off four times last season, all between January and February. Carolina took the first meeting, 6-3, on New Year’s Day in Raleigh. Tuomo Ruutu opened the scoring, finding the back of the net on the powerplay just 1:48 into the first period. Jeff Skinner made it 2-0 at 4:28 of the opening frame, and Sergei Samsonov stretched the lead to three with a powerplay tally at the eight minute mark. The goal chased Martin Brodeur, who recorded just four saves. The two teams traded scores later in the period, and Carolina entered the break ahead 4-1.
The scoring wouldn’t end there. Travis Zajac scored 49 seconds into the second period, closing the gap to 4-2. Samsonov would score another powerplay goal, this one at 8:42 of the middle frame, to put the lead back to three. The teams traded goals again in the third, ending the game in a Hurricanes win. Ruutu added insult to injury, recording four points in just that game.
The Devils evened the season series, winning 3-2 in overtime on February 8 at the Prudential Center. Skinner opened the scoring in the second period, converting on a powerplay at 9:22 for a 1-0 lead. It was a short-lived lead. Mattias Tedenby tied the game, 1-1, at 11:31 of the middle frame. Skinner put his team ahead, 2-1, on yet another powerplay goal, this at 8:37 of the third period. Another Devils rookie, Nick Palmieri, tied the game at two at 17:06 of the final frame. It would be a rookie playing hero in overtime for the win:
Johan Hedberg stopped 20 shots for the win. Cam Ward stopped 31 shots in the loss.
Just eight days later, the two teams squared off again at the Prudential Center. The Devils skated away with another 3-2 win. Ilya Kovalchuk broke a scoreless tie at 5:41 of the second period. They extended their lead quickly in the third period, with Brian Rolston and Patrik Elias scoring in the opening two minutes to push the lead to 3-0. Carolina mounted a comeback, with Samsonov ending Hedberg’s shutout at 8:17 of the final period. Ruutu scored at 19:55 to pull the teams within one. That’s as close as they would get. Hedberg stopped 25 shots in the win, and Ward stopped 19 in the loss.
Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Season Preview” tab. In today’s preview, we go to the Eastern Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Hurricanes vs. Devils – Historical Data
In 109 all-time regular season meetings against the Hurricanes, the Devils are 50-40-12-2. New Jersey averages 3.18 goals against the ‘Canes, and allows them to average 2.97 goals. Last season, the Devils and Hurricanes faced off four times, with the Devils going 3-1-0.
The Devils won the first game against the Hurricanes last season, blanking Carolina, 2-0, on October 17. Jamie Langenbrunner scored the game’s first goal 26 seconds into the third period, putting the Devils ahead, 1-0. Zach Parise added an insurance goal, putting the Devils ahead, 2-0, with an empty-netter at 19:26 of the third. Martin Brodeur stopped 26 shots in the win. Cam Ward made 27 saves in the loss.
The Devils took their second game in a row against Carolina, defeating the ‘Canes, 4-2, on December 9. Patrik Elias opened the scoring, giving the Devils a lead, 1-0, at 11:11 of the first period. Andy Greene extended the lead, putting the Devils ahead, 2-0, with an even-strength tally at 17:53 of the period. Greene pushed the Devils farther ahead, giving them a 3-0 advantage with a powerplay goal at 6:05 of the second period. But Carolina would not quit.
Brandon Sutter put the ‘Canes on the board, scoring at 6:48 of the period and cutting the Devils’ lead to 3-1. Tuomo Ruutu cut the lead to one, scoring on the powerplay at 8:46 to shrink the Devils’ lead to 3-2. Rob Niedermayer put the nail in the coffin, scoring an empty-net, shorthanded goal at 19:59 of the third period to extend the Devils lead to 4-2.
The ‘Canes defeated the Devils, 5-2, on February 13 for their first win of the season series. Zach Boychuk scored the game’s first goal, giving Carolina a lead, 1-0, at 16:47 of the first period. Then it became the Ray Whitney show. Whitney scored two powerplay goals, one at 4:34 and the next a minute later, in the second period to put the ‘Canes ahead, 3-0, after two periods. Jussi Jokinen scored at 3:27 of the third period to extend the lead further, putting the ‘Canes ahead, 4-0. Goals by Parise at 7:26 and Brian Rolston at 17:02 cut the Hurricanes lead in half, 4-2. Jokinen would restore the three-goal advantage, scoring with the net empty at 18:31 to put the Hurricanes ahead, 5-2.
The Devils would avenge their loss, blanking the Hurricanes for the second time, 4-0, on April 3. Dainius Zubrus opened the scoring, putting the Devils ahead, 1-0, with a powerplay tally at 13:13 of the first period. Elias increased the lead, putting the Devils ahead, 2-0, at 18:18 of the first. The score would remain the same until the third period. Parise pushed the lead to 3-0 with an even-strength goal at 7:34 of the third. David Clarkson extended the lead, giving the Devils a 4-0 advantage with an empty-net goal at 18:28 of the third period.
Continue after the jump for the rest of the preview!