Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils Pick & Prediction JANUARY 25th 2024

The New Jersey Devils are looking at the grand possibilities in front of them — and not at a setback in the past — as they visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C. The Devils were eliminated by the Hurricanes in five games during their Eastern Conference second-round series last spring.

But it’s not about revenge for New Jersey in its first meeting of the season with Carolina.

“Where we’re at and trying to battle to where they’re at — a number of points (ahead of us) — these two points can really close the gap,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said of the four-point deficit. “That’s really more of what we’re focused in on.”

The Devils are looking to make up ground on the Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division standings. Combined with Saturday night’s game at Tampa Bay, these will be New Jersey’s last games until following the All-Star break.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to go on the road and put ourselves in a position to go into the break and enjoy the time off but go off on a high note,” Devils forward Tyler Toffoli said. “It will be a tough challenge, for sure.”

The Hurricanes headed back home after Wednesday night’s 3-2 victory at Boston.

“It was a tight game and it was about little things,” Hurricanes forward Martin Necas said. “It’s always good to have games like this.”

New Jersey has lost three of its past five games, although it defeated visiting Vegas 6-5 in overtime Monday in its most recent contest.

The Devils had forward Ondrej Palat at Wednesday’s workout for his first full practice of the month after sitting out with a lower-body injury. He could be in the lineup in Raleigh, Ruff said.

“He has been skating for a while now and got a full practice in,” Ruff said. “He looks like he’s going to be good to go.”

Palat gave his endorsement.

“It feels normal,” he said. “All good now.”

Devils defenseman Colin Miller also practiced after missing a game because of illness.

With center Michael McLeod and defenseman Cal Foote on indefinite leaves from the team, Ruff said the Devils expect to have at least one call-up from the American Hockey League for Thursday’s game.

The Hurricanes have shown a level of urgency recently, and that was on display in the Boston game.

“We had to kill a penalty there with five minutes to go and you could see that the effort was just amazing,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It was a hard-fought game. We needed the points more than them, so that was good.”

Carolina is lined up to have Antti Raanta in the net after fellow goaltender Spencer Martin made his team debut in Boston.

Necas is on a three-game goal streak since returning from an upper-body injury. The Hurricanes again might be without winger Andrei Svechnikov, who didn’t make the trip to Boston because of an upper-body injury.

Carolina had a six-game homestand before going to Boston. Thursday’s contest will mark the start of five straight home games, although that run will be interrupted by a layoff that will include the All-Star break.

The Devils arrived earlier Wednesday in Raleigh, while the Hurricanes had to make a trip back from Boston after Wednesday’s game.

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping