Game 70 Preview: Devils @ Carolina Hurricanes

The Devils have achieved history last night with Patrik Elias becoming the new franchise leader in points and Martin Brodeur becoming the all-time leader in wins.  There was a nice little celebration for Brodeur after the game, where he cut the net off his goal and said a few words on the rink. 

Unfortunately, the Devils themselves can't do much more to celebrate. They have a game in Carolina to deal with.  Brodeur can rest, though.  Gulitti has come right out after last night's game with this:

Devils coach Brent Sutter said Kevin Weekes will get the start Wednesday night in Carolina., Brodeur, who has started nine in a row since returning from a torn biceps tendon and won eight of them, will get a well-deserved night off.

And there you have it! Kevin Weekes will definitely get to play against his former team.  It's been a long time since he's started.  His last game was on February 19, a 3-2 shootout win over Tampa Bay.  Weekes stopped 39 out of 41 in that game, and he looked pretty good overall.  However, that was a month ago. Who knows what to expect from Weekes? 

More importantly, who knows what to expect from the Devils?  Consider that last night's game was quite emotional and historical. There was way more media attention than usual.  There were records that were broken.  The team did well to beat Chicago.  I fear that an emotional letdown from that big win will hit the Devils hard.

Adding to that issue will be the fact that Carolina is in the middle of a playoff race and would certainly need the points. According to Bubba at Canes County, the Hurricanes really do need to get points over teams like New Jersey to help ensure they remain in the top 8.  Carolina has beaten New Jersey earlier this year.  Moreover, I've noticed that Carolina has given the Devils' offense lots of problems with that collapsing defense that Paul Maurice loves to use so much.   Basically, it forces the Devils to try and get shots through from the outside. Given that a significant amount of the goals the Devils have scored have come from the slot and around the crease, the Devils need to be adamant in taking - and keeping - that space.

That all said, I think one who will have the most impact on the Devils' performance is Brent Sutter himself.  He has to ensure this team remains motivated enough to get onto a good start.  The Devils may not need to score on their first shot of the game, or to have Zach Parise have an awesome game, or pray that Kevin Weekes can emulate Brodeur to a "T."  I think they do need to start off well and basically put last night behind them.  Carolina doesn't care that Brodeur has won 552 games or that Elias has scored 702 points.  They care about getting the 2 points from the game.  Sutter has to get this team mentally prepared in a short amount of time.  I think that will make all the difference in the game, the performance should follow the preparation.

Should I have more information, I'll stick it in the GameThread - which could be beefier than usual. For the opposition, Canes County is your definitive source on the Hurricanes.  From their future on defense to giving Puck Daddy "what's for" over Eric Staal.  Bubba and Cory do good work over there and they should have a solid preview up today.

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