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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 5th (All times Eastern)
New Jersey Devils (33-28-16) at Carolina Hurricanes (34-32-11), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils are coming off a crucial victory in their chase for a playoff spot and the club hopes to win for a third time in four games when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
The Devils notched a 2-1 regulation victory Friday night against visiting Washington. With the win, New Jersey leapfrogged the Capitals in the Eastern Conference standings and moved within three points of Columbus for the second wild-card spot. The Blue Jackets, who lost to Chicago on Friday, have 85 points, followed by Toronto with 84.
Ryan Carter scored the game-winner with 4:54 remaining to help the Devils edge Washington in the important battle at Prudential Center.
Tuomo Ruutu recorded New Jersey's other goal and Cory Schneider stopped 24 shots for the Devils, who picked up at least one point for the sixth straight game (3-0-3) to keep their playoff hopes alive.
"It was a gutsy win for us," Schneider said. "That was a pretty signature win for us. Hopefully it's not too late."
Martin Brodeur could get the start in net on Saturday for the Devils. New Jersey also enters tonight's contest with a ton of injured players, including ones to forwards Patrik Elias and Adam Henrique, who expect to sit out Saturday. Defenseman and team captain Bryce Salvador also is among the wounded player with a lower-body injury, but he could play on Saturday.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have an even slimmer chance of making the postseason than the Devils. Carolina is three points behind New Jersey and six points out of a playoff spot.
Carolina, which last made the playoffs in 2009, has recorded wins in two straight outings and is 3-0-2 over its past five trips to the ice. The club notched a 4-1 win over visiting Dallas on Thursday, with defenseman John-Michael Liles providing a goal and two assists during a second-period barrage.
Liles set up scores from Eric Staal and Justin Faulk that staked the Hurricanes to a 2-0 advantage before adding a power-play tally later in the middle session.
"Tonight was his best game," Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said of Liles. "With the guys that were out of the lineup, we needed veteran guys to step up, and he was one guy I thought played really well tonight."
Anton Khudobin made the lead stand with a sharp 33-save effort in Carolina's second impressive win in three days. The Hurricanes returned home off Tuesday's 4-1 road decision over Metropolitan Division leader Pittsburgh.
"It's a matter of all getting on the same page, and I think tonight we were all pretty well on the same page," Liles said.
Carolina has five games left on its regular-season schedule and Saturday's tilt is the club's penultimate home tilt. The 'Canes are 18-15-6 as the host this season.
New Jersey has won two straight against the Hurricanes since dropping a 4-3 regulation decision on home ice in the season-series opener on Nov. 27. The Devils have won nine of 13 overall against Carolina and has claimed the last two meetings in Raleigh.
04/05 10:53:11 ET
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