Even after the Devils lost, 2-1, in San Jose on Saturday night, it appeared they were still on the right track.

They had gone 2-1-0 on a difficult California road trip and on a 6-2-1 surge. A 3-1 loss to Winnipeg on Monday night changed the perspective a little bit, though.

Suddenly, they’ve lost two in a row heading into a home-and-home series with the Carolina Hurricanes that begins tonight at Prudential Center. Another defeat would mean a three-game losing streak and undo a lot of the good work they did over the last three weeks.

"We’re going home-and-home against Carolina now the next three or four days, so I think it will be important for us to win," goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "That’s a team that is now in our [division], so we have to play them well."

The Devils and Hurricanes are 9-10-5 and tied for fourth place in the Metropolitan Division with 23 points, one behind the Rangers. The Devils climbed above NHL .500 last week with a three-game winning streak, but have been derailed again by their scoring struggles.

They’ve scored only one goal in regulation in their last three games and have scored one goal or less in nine of their 24 games.

"We’ve got to find a way to score. That’s the bottom line, no question," said Patrik Elias, who has scored the Devils’ lone goal in each of the last two games. "But I felt like [Monday] at least we were challenging the middle a lot more in the offensive zone, in the neutral zone. A lot of nights when we can’t get any chances or any shots, we play along the boards too much."

The Devils’ depth, particularly on defense, is being tested. Adam Larsson joined those sidelined when he fell and crashed into the boards in the third period of Saturday’s 2-1 loss in San Jose. He missed Monday’s game with what the club is calling a "lower-body" injury.

Captain Bryce Salvador has been out since Oct. 22 with a stress fracture in his foot. Anton Volchenkov has missed two weeks with a leg muscle pull, but might be ready to play tonight.

The Devils also had close calls with defensemen Peter Harrold and Eric Gelinas in the second period Monday. Harrold appeared to reinjure his right elbow on a hard hit into the end boards by Winnipeg’s Eric Tangradi, but was able to shake it off and return later in the period.