The Carolina Hurricanes are in position to eliminate the New Jersey Devils. The Devils need to play a nearly perfect road game to stay alive in the series. Who, or what, will be the deciding factor in that team will be victorious? Below are some things to watch for in game 5 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on Thursday night.
Hurricanes look to eliminate Devils in game 5
Can Jordan Martinook stay hot?
Canes forward Jordan Martinook has come alive to boost the team in their second round match up. In his last five games, Martinook has three goals and six assists for nine points, is a +5, has 10 hits, and four blocked shots. Carolina is 4-1 during his hot streak. Martinook needs to lead the charge once again before the Hurricanes can move on.
Will the Devils reverse road playoff luck?
The Devils have not had good luck in their franchise history of playoff games on the road. In the franchise’s history, New Jersey is 65-71 all-time on the road in the playoffs. They have been outscored 373-344, have a power play percentage of 16.6%, an 80.5% on the penalty kill, and are 0-2 on the road in the series against the Canes so far. The Devils need to play a boring road game, slowing the game down, play at their pace, control the puck, and hope for a victory.
New Jersey to get Slavin and Burns off of their game
Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Jaccob Slavin and Brent Burns are two of the more solid players on the bluleline. They take care of their own end first, then supply the necessary offense to win the game. The duo has been terrific in the 2023 NHL playoffs at both ends of the ice, especially the +/- department. In fact, Slavin leads the league in playoff +/- at +13, while his teammate Burns is a +7. The Devils and Lindy Ruff need a game plan to get goals while Slavin and Burns are on the ice due to their +/- totals. IN order to do that, the Devils need to pressure them into turnovers and costly mistakes that will end up in the Carolina net. Hit them, pressure them, and put pucks on net.
Devils goaltenders need to step up in game 5
The New Jersey goaltending has certainly been an issue in these playoffs. Aside from the gems that Akira Schmid put together in game 3, 4, and 5 of round one, the goaltending has been average at best. Ruff has switched them frequently, which may not be the best strategy. The team needs a lights out performance from Vitek Vanecek to play another day. The team as a whole needs to step up but the goaltenders need to be the star of the game. Schmid and Vanecek are a combined 5-6 with an .884 save percentage and a 3.25 GAA with two shutouts in the playoffs.
New Jersey to concentrate on one win at a time
New Jersey has to come into this game with one game at a time, one period at a time mentality. They will not win game 5 if they are focused on game 6. Simply go in and play every shift like it is their last, which it could be. The Carolina Hurricanes have outscored the Devils 17-3 in the three wins. The Canes have won more battles in the corners and in front of the net. That has to change for New Jersey in game 5.
Projected linueps for the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils
Stefan Noesen- Sebastian Aho- Seth Jarvis
Jordan Martinook- Jesperi Kotkaniemi- Jesper Fast
Jack Drury- Jordan Staal- Martin Necas
Paul Stastny- Derek Stephan- Jesse Puljujarvi
Jaccob Slavin- Brent Burns
Brady Skeji- Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere- Jalen Chatfield
Frederik Andersen- Pyotr Kochetkov
injuries-Jake Gardiner (Hip-IR), Ondrej Kase (Concussion-IR), Max Pacioretty (Achilles-IR) , Andrei Svechnikov (Knee-IR), Teuvo Teravainen (Hand)
New Jersey Devils
Ondrej Palat- Nico Hischier- Jesper Bratt
Timo Meier- Jack Hughes- Dawson Mercer
Erik Haula- Jesper Boqvist- Tomas Tatar
Miles Wood- Michael McLeod- Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler- Dougie Hamilton
Brendan Smith- John Marino
Luke Hughes- Damon Severson
Vitek Vanceke- Akira Schmid
Injuries- Jonathan Bernier (Hip-IR), Ryan Graves (Upper-Body)
lineups via nhl.com