Hurricanes 2, Devils 1
Parise nearly gave the Devils a 2-0 lead in the second, but was stopped by Cam Ward.
The Devils' winless streak reached four Saturday, as the visiting Carolina Hurricanes scored twice in the final 6:55 of regulation to come away with a 2-1 victory at Prudential Center.
Sergei Samsonov tied the game at 1 before Tuomo Ruutu got the go-ahead goal on the power play with 3:34 to go in the third period.
The Devils had trouble clearing their zone when Samsonov netted his 16th from the slot, tapping in Joe Corvo's rebound at 13:05. With Paul Martin in the box for hooking, Ruutu scored his 24th from the top of the crease on Eric Staal's feed from behind the Devils' net at 16:26.
The Hurricanes won their sixth in a row and snapped New Jersey's franchise-record home winning streak at 11. The Devils stumbled at the Rock for the first time since Feb. 7.
' 31st of the season was the lone goal for New Jersey, which matched its longest winless skid of the season. The Devils have had only one other four-game losing streak this season, which came shortly after Martin Brodeur
got hurt in November.
Hoping to lead his team to its first win in three tries against Carolina, Brodeur faced a career-high 48 shots for the second time this season and responded with a career-high 46 saves.
New Jersey allowed 18 shots in each of the final two periods.
"You have to do the details – the little things – well," head coach Brent Sutter said. "You look at last night's game [at Chicago] and tonight, two mistakes cost us goals. When you don't do things right with the puck, tonight, same thing at 1-0. Then you take a penalty and get a power play scored against you, 2-1."
The Devils pulled Brodeur with 1:35 remaining, but couldn't solve Cam Ward for the equalizer. Ward finished with 31 saves for his third straight win over New Jersey this season.
Jersey's Team (47-24-4) has scored two goals or less in five of its last six games, and fallen short in all five.
"We've got to snap out of it," Zach Parise
said. "We've got to get back to doing what we were doing when we were burying teams. It doesn't seem like we're doing that right now. It seemed like we'd get the [first goal] then come back with the next one and take over the game. Now we get that one [goal] and we're satisfied. It's frustrating."
Parise doesn't feel the team's confidence has been shaken by this dry spell, but knows the club is still capable of a strong finish to the regular season.
"It's not as if we're not a fragile team – that's not the case." Parise said. "We should be scoring three, four, five goals a game, and we haven't been lately.
"We got that [first] goal and we tried to win 1-0. I don't think that's the way to play the game. Teams are too good now; they're going to get their scoring chances and their power plays. We have to score more than one or two goals a game."
Seven contests remain for the Devils, who visit the New York Rangers on Monday. They host the Hurricanes again in the regular-season finale on April 11.
Philadelphia's shootout win at Long Island on Saturday trimmed the Devils' lead in the Atlantic Division to six points. To hold off the Flyers and secure another division title, Jamie Langenbrunner
said his team needs to eliminate unforced errors.
"We've made some mistakes that have ended up in our net; some turnovers," said the captain. "This time of year those things get magnified and you can't be doing that."
Things were looking up for the Devils in the first period, when Elias gave them the lead with his fifth goal in eight games.
Brian Gionta gained the Carolina blue line, and fed Elias for a wrister from the slot with 1:51 left in the period. John Madden drove hard to the front of the net to partially screen Ward on the play.
The scoreless second period featured a trio of highlight-reel saves. Brodeur made a behind-the-back catching-glove grab on Ray Whitney's power-play swat from in front of the net at 8:00.
"It popped up and everybody lost it," Brodeur said. "Then I just saw it land and [Whitney] hit it and I was diving and I just kind of grabbed it. I got a little lucky there; I grabbed it with my glove under my body."
Ward answered with a great save of his own at 10:26, diving across the goalmouth to deny Parise's follow up of a Langenbrunner rebound.
Brodeur wasn't done flashing his catching glove and smothered Tim Conboy's shot from the doorstep with 7:06 left in the second, after Joni Pitkanen's shot from the left point.
The Devils lost in regulation for just the fifth time in 42 games when scoring first, and only the fourth time in 32 games when leading after the first period.
Since posting an 8-1 mark in Brodeur's first nine games back, the Devils have gone 1-4-1. ... Brodeur faced 48 shots on Oct. 29 versus Toronto. New Jersey has allowed 40 or more shots in regulation four times this season, all losses. They surrendered 42 vs. the Rangers on Nov. 12 and 44 at Dallas on Dec. 31. ... There was a moment of silence before the game for former Devil Walt Poddubny, who passed away on March 21 at the age of 49.
|Three star selections