Final

Series (Game 1 of 4)

New Jersey leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, January 1st
Devils3Final
Hurricanes6
Game 2: Tuesday, February 8th
Hurricanes2Final
OT
Devils3
Game 3: Wednesday, February 16th
Hurricanes2Final
Devils3
Game 4: Saturday, February 19th
Devils4Final
Hurricanes1

Devils 3

(10-26-2, 22 pts)

Hurricanes 6

(18-15-4, 40 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 1, 2011

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 3 T
NJ 1 1 13
CAR 4 1 16

T. Ruutu (Hurricanes - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 3

S. Samsonov (Hurricanes - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

J. Skinner (Hurricanes - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Devils-Hurricanes Preview

STATS LLC

There may be no team looking forward to the new year more than the New Jersey Devils.

They'll look to start putting a disappointing 2010 behind them Saturday night when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes.

Sitting last in the NHL with 22 points, New Jersey (10-25-2) has lost star forward Zach Parise for an expected three months to a torn right meniscus, fired rookie coach John MacLean on Dec. 23 and dealt with the struggles of the high-priced Ilya Kovalchuk.

If new coach Jacques Lemaire hopes to turn around the Devils, he'll likely have to make drastic changes to a team that has lost 11 of 13 heading into 2011.

"This wasn't the best of years," said Kovalchuk, who is an NHL-worst minus-26 . "This year is over. We can turn the page and start a new year and if we do, we can turn things around."

New Jersey enters January on a positive note, winning for the first time under Lemaire and ending a six-game losing streak Friday with a 3-1 home victory over Atlanta. Kovalchuk, a former Thrasher, scored his ninth goal of the season and first in five games, while Johan Hedberg made 28 saves in place of the struggling Martin Brodeur.

Captain Jamie Langenbrunner scored his first goal in his last 13 games.

"We hit rock bottom and it was an embarrassment to lose so many games in a row," Langenbrunner said. "But we've done a better job of late. We did some good things (Wednesday against the Rangers (in a 3-1 loss). We knew the breaks had to go our way for once. We got some chances and made the most of them."

It's unclear who will start in net against the Hurricanes. Brodeur is 12-3-1 with a 1.70 goals-against average in his last 16 games against them, but is 1-10-0 with a 3.50 GAA in his last 11 starts overall.

Seeking its third straight win, Carolina (17-15-4) will look to keep the Devils' league-worst offense (64 goals) in check.

Without defenseman Joni Pitkanen (lower-body) and second-leading scorer Jussi Jokinen, the Hurricanes got 37 saves from Cam Ward in a 4-0 shutout of Ottawa on Wednesday.

The victory moved Carolina within four points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"It's just like anybody else, we're looking at the standings and seeing us just below that red line," Ward said. "You don't want to see too much of a gap where you can't catch up by the end of the season so it's important that you take care of the games against teams that are below you or right there with you."

Ward and leading scorer Eric Staal haven't fared so well against the Devils. Ward has lost his last three starts and Staal has only one goal and four points in his last 14 games against New Jersey.

The statuses of Pitkanen and Jokinen are unclear for this contest.

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