Devils host 'Canes in matchup of struggling clubs

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(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of struggling Metropolitan Division clubs will try to record a win before the Christmas break, as the New Jersey Devils host the Carolina Hurricanes in Tuesday's clash at Prudential Center.

Carolina and the Devils enter this tilt as the bottom two teams in the division and they have combined for only a total of five victories in December.

New Jersey has owned the Hurricanes in recent matchups, winning four straight and five of the last six encounters, including a 2-1 win in Raleigh on Dec. 8. The Devils have claimed seven of the past nine meetings in the Garden State.

The Hurricanes, who are in the Eastern Conference cellar with 22 points, have lost eight of their last nine games and were recently swept by the New York Rangers in a home-and-home series.

Carolina earned a point in the home portion when it dropped a shootout decision against the Rangers on Saturday, but the 'Canes then lost 1-0 in regulation the following night in New York City.

The Hurricanes fired only 18 shots at Cam Talbot on Sunday and Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh scored the game's only goal just 4:10 into the first period.

Anton Khudobin played well for Carolina in the loss, making 30 saves. He is 0-8-2 this season and hasn't won since April 13.

"We struggle to score, period. When you get a good goaltending performance, you'd like to get a point, if not two, out of it," head coach Bill Peters said. "Dobby (Khudobin) has done that for us a few times this year, but unfortunately we haven't scored enough for him. It's frustrating, for sure."

Cam Ward expects to be back in net tonight for Carolina. He is 9-14-2 with a 2.79 goals against average against New Jersey for his career.

Sunday's loss was the fourth straight road setback for the 'Canes, who have a dismal 3-13-2 record as the guest this season. Carolina will complete a three- game road trip when it faces Tampa Bay on Saturday.

The Devils lost for the sixth time in seven games on Saturday when they lost a 4-0 home decision against Washington. New Jersey is 1-2-0 on a four-game homestand and just 4-6-4 as the host on the season.

Nicklas Backstrom scored a pair of goals and Alex Ovechkin notched a highlight-reel tally to help the Capitals cruise to Saturday's win in Newark.

Cory Schneider was back in the net for the Devils, who were coming off a 3-2 shootout win over Tampa Bay behind rookie Keith Kinkaid's first NHL win on Friday night. Schneider, who has started 31 of 34 games for New Jersey this season, finished with 17 saves.

"We'd all like to be more consistent, from me on out," said Schneider. "I think as a group we can all be better every night."

Schneider is 4-1-0 with a 1.81 GAA in five career games against the Hurricanes.

New Jersey is hoping to get forward Mike Cammalleri back tonight after he sat out the last four games with a lower-body injury. Cammalleri, who leads the Devils with 11 goals, practiced on Monday and is questionable for tonight.

Fellow forwards Patrik Elias and Martin Havlat sat out Monday's practice due to illness. Both players are being tested for them mumps, a disease that has touched many NHL teams this season, including New Jersey.