The New Jersey Devils know what to expect tonight at the RBC Center. Noise, a lot of it. Excitement, a lot of it.
"You expect a great atmosphere," Devils forward Zach Parise said. "The last time they had a playoff game here they won the Cup."
True enough. It was June 2006 when the Canes last were in a playoff game in the building, beating the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Parise, 24, grinned when he was asked if he knew that bit of hockey history or if he had been told that by his coaches or older teammates.
"No, no, I knew that," he said. "But you expect that from anybody you play. The home crowd is always going to be an advantage."
It will be a different kind of scene when the Devils' team bus rolls into the area later this afternoon. The Prudential Center, in downtown Newark, doesn't lend itself to tailgating. It's more of a college football atmosphere in and around the RBC Center before games.
"That's great," Parise said. "It's great for the game and it will make it more exciting for us, too."
As for the game itself, the Devils also know what to expect. It's 1-1 in the series after the Canes' 2-1 overtime win Friday at The Rock.
"We did a lot of good things and they did a lot of good things — that's playoff hockey," coach Brent Sutter said today. "We're not sitting here talking about the teams have been blowing each other out.
"Game Two was a tight game. That's what we expected in Game One. We just need to play our game and they'll play their game and it's a cat-and-mouse situation. You've got two teams that are very tight and we'll see what happens."