Skip to main content

Hurricanes, Devils duel after week of significant change

Mar 7, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) celebrates their victory after the game against the Montreal Canadiens at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes approached the trade deadline focused only on June and the opportunity to finally win the franchise’s second Stanley Cup.

The New Jersey Devils, who began the season with championship aspirations of their own, took a more measured approach during a chaotic trade-deadline week by trying to maintain their wild-card hopes, while also building for next season.

Two different types of playoff pushes will officially begin Saturday afternoon, when the Devils host the Hurricanes at Newark, N.J., in a battle of Metropolitan Division rivals.

Both teams were off Friday after earning 4-1 wins at home Thursday, when the Hurricanes beat the Montreal Canadiens and the Devils defeated the St. Louis Blues.

The Hurricanes, who last won the Cup in 2006, moved within four points of the first-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan hours after pulling off a blockbuster trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Carolina acquired center Jake Guentzel and defenseman Ty Smith in exchange for left winger Michael Bunting, a trio of prospects and two conditional 2024 draft picks.

The Hurricanes continued to add Friday afternoon, when they obtained center Evgeny Kuznetsov from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 2025 third-round pick.

By adding Guentzel and Kuznetsov, a pair of former Stanley Cup winners, the Hurricanes hope they’ve added the final pieces to a team that’s emerged as a serious title contender. Carolina has made the playoffs in each of the last five seasons – the longest run for the franchise since the then-Hartford Whalers reached the postseason seven straight times from 1986-92.

Carolina made the Eastern Conference finals last season, where it was swept by the Florida Panthers. The Hurricanes were also swept by the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals.

“We’re thrilled to bolster our lineup as we compete to bring the Stanley Cup back to Raleigh,” Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said in a statement.

The Devils ended a long rebuilding project last spring, when they reached the second round of the playoffs for the first time since their most recent trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012.

But New Jersey has been wracked by injuries this season – Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Dougie Hamilton and goalie Vitek Vanecek have combined to miss 103 games – and entered retooling mode Monday by firing head coach Lindy Ruff fewer than six months after he signed a contract extension.

The Devils traded impending free agent Tyler Toffoli to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a pair of draft picks Friday before acquiring goalie Jake Allen from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional 2025 pick.

Allen likely will become the starting goalie for New Jersey, which has allowed 220 goals entering Friday, the fifth-most in the NHL.

The Devils maintained their flickering playoff hopes with Thursday’s win, the first under interim coach Travis Green. New Jersey entered Friday in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and six points behind the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for a wild-card spot.

“Winning is a lot more fun and now we’ve got to keep this feeling,” Devils right winger Timo Meier said after registering a hat trick Thursday. “We’ve got enough games left where we believe we can still make a big push and put ourselves in a position where we have a shot at the Stanley Cup playoffs.”

–Field Level Media

Mentioned in this article:

More About: