It was a rough day at the office for the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes. The Devils fell to the Detroit Red Wings in overtime, a loss at home against a beatable team. And then the Hurricanes fell behind 4-1 after 2 periods of play and never recovered. Scott Darling played an awful game in net, especially in the 2nd when he gave up 3 goals to put the game out of reach. The Hurricanes had to be tempted with yanking Darling and putting Curtis McElhinney in net, but he is likely to get the nod in net in today’s matchup.
With a trio of goaltenders that includes Petr Mrazek, Darling, and McElhinney, the Canes are going to have issues winning hockey games and getting to the playoffs. They were just lucky to have McElhinney fall in their lap after the Maple Leafs released him, because they’d be in a whole lot more trouble with only Mrazek and Darling. Maybe they would have grabbed Pickard instead? Yeah, that isn’t exactly going well for the Flyers.
I think all three can work as pretty decent backups, but therein lies the problem, the Canes essentially have three solid backups on their roster without a clear starter. As far as the Devils are concerned, Keith Kinkaid was pretty good against the Red Wings yesterday, but it wasn’t enough. Cory Schneider will get the start on Sunday, which hasn’t been a great season for him. He started the season on the shelf and has been unable to get in a groove since returning. And at about the same time, Kinkaid lost his confidence, so that has been a tough situation for the Devils as they swap between Kinkaid and Schneider between the pipes. Get our free Devils vs. Hurricanes pick below.
N.J. Devils vs. Carolina Hurricanes Pick
The Devils have slipped since opening the season with a pretty nice start. They enter with a record of 8-8-2. Same for the Hurricanes, who were looking pretty decent, but have since regressed to 8-8-2 as well. With that, they have been having some of the same issues. Goaltending wise, neither team knows who their clear starting goaltender is. For the Devils, they absolutely believe that was Schneider, but he hasn’t played like a starter since coming off the IR.
Schneider has gotten hit hard with a 4.82 GAA and 0.849 save percentage. And his starts have continued to get worse. He opened the year by allowing 3 goals to the Red Wings, and then allowed 4 to Ottawa, and lastly 5 to the Jets. All of his starts have been on the road, including today in Raleigh.
Schneider is likely to see some shots in this game. The Hurricanes lead the NHL in shots per game with 41.1, so it’s a pretty considerable margin between them and the next team. The 31 shots from yesterday is the lowest total in their previous ten games, though they’ve still hit the net an average of 40.5 times in their last ten.
Shots will start falling for the Hurricanes and against a struggling Schneider, it’s likely it happens on Sunday. The Devils have allowed 3.9 goals per game in their previous ten outings, so it’s been a chore for them. However, the goaltending situation isn’t too hot in Carolina. McElhinney is the probable choice on Sunday for the Canes and he has a 0.884 save percentage in five games. I would look for a final score that pushes this one OVER the total in Raleigh on Sunday.