Devils-Hurricanes Preview

A rough stretch has dropped the Carolina Hurricanes into the Eastern Conference cellar, but the New Jersey Devils aren't doing much better.

Both teams hope to revive their slumping offenses Monday night in their first meeting this season.

Carolina (8-15-3) owns a conference-low 19 points, thanks in large part to dropping nine of 12 games.

New Jersey (10-13-4) is having problems of its own, going 2-6-2 in its last 10 and holding only a five-point advantage over the Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.

Sporadic scoring has plagued both teams, as they rank among the least productive in the NHL.

The Hurricanes are averaging 2.23 goals, while the Devils are at 2.33. Both teams have been even worse than that lately, with Carolina scoring 1.92 over its last 12 games and New Jersey tallying 2.0 in its past 10.

A weak offense wasn't the only problem Sunday for the Hurricanes, who gave up the game's first three goals before falling 3-1 to Detroit. They finished with a 35-22 advantage in shots, but still dropped to 1-3 on this five-game homestand.

"We've got to be in the goalie's eyes and make it very tough for him," coach Bill Peters said. "There are too many nights where we talk about we have shots but we don't have net front traffic. I thought the puck was coming off their guy a little bit. We've got to do a much better job of that."

The Devils share that sentiment after outshooting Washington 34-29 only to lose 4-1 on Saturday. It was the third time in four games New Jersey outshot an opponent, but all of those ended in defeats.

"We gotta find a way to put them in," center Scott Gomez said. "Gotta have those two points in Carolina. It's December hockey now, and this is pretty important.

"Teams are going start making a push, and we gotta do that."

The Devils have won three straight overall against the Hurricanes, and have outscored them 12-4 during a three-game win streak in Raleigh.

Dainius Zubrus had two goals in New Jersey's 3-1 victory there on April 5, giving him six in his last seven games at PNC Arena. This matchup could be coming a good time for the veteran left wing, who has no goals in 18 games and only two on the season.

Adam Henrique has scored three times in two overall meetings with Carolina. The center netted a pair in a 5-4 home win March 8.

The Hurricanes have been especially bad offensively on home ice, totaling seven goals during a 1-5-0 stretch there.

Jiri Tlusty leads the team with 10 goals but his only one at home came on Nov. 1. He has no points in nine games at PNC Arena since that tally.

It will be tough for Carolina to have any success without more production from Jeff Skinner, who has six goals after leading the team with a career-high 33 last season. Skinner does have five goals in his last six meetings with New Jersey with one in each of the past three.

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