Hurricanes 4, Devils 2
NEWARK, N.J. -- Jiri Tlusty scored a pair of goals in the third period, including an empty-netter, and goalie Cam Ward made 26 saves to lead the resurgent Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday at Prudential Center.
Tlusty, who connected twice in a 6-4 victory over the New York Islanders on Monday, gave Carolina a 3-2 lead 7:25 into the third on a power-play goal. After collecting a pass from Eric Staal at the right post, Tlusty directed a shot over Martin Brodeur's glove hand on the short side.
The helper by Staal on Tlusty's goal extended his point-scoring streak to 10 games (eight goals, eight assists).
Tlusty capped the scoring on an empty-net goal with 33.6 seconds left.
Carolina closed out its season-high six-game road trip with a 4-1-1 mark, atop the Southeast Division, third in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes return home Thursday to play the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Not too bad for a team that was in ninth place in the East at the start of the week.
The loss snapped New Jersey's five-game winning streak.
The Devils had pulled into a 2-2 tie 1:34 into the third when Ryan Carter scored an unassisted goal right in front of Ward. Steve Bernier stripped the puck from Justin Faulk, who was attempting to lug it up ice off the transition, and Carter picked it up before lofting a backhand attempt over Ward's right pad.
Patrick Dwyer gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the game, 2-1, 18:29 into the second when he deflected home a shot from the right point by defenseman Jay Harrison. Harrison took a pass from Justin Faulk and ripped a shot that nicked Dwyer in front. Brodeur had no chance on the shot, screened by Dwyer and Devils defenseman Adam Larsson.
The Hurricanes tied the game, 1-1, on a power-play goal by Jussi Jokinen 1:36 into the second. Brodeur attempted to drive the puck out of the zone along the left-wing boards, but defenseman Joe Corvo maintained possession inside the blue line. Corvo would eventually regain possession after taking a pass from Joni Pitkanen and fed Jokinen in the right circle. Brodeur was screened from seeing the pass and was out of position in the crease, giving Jokinen a wide-open net.
Carolina limited New Jersey throughout much of the second, not allowing a shot until 11:13 remained, off the stick of rookie Stefan Matteau on a harmless-looking attempt from the right circle.
David Clarkson broke in 1-on-1 against Ward after taking a feed from Adam Henrique at the 12:40 mark, but the Carolina keeper was in perfect position to make one of his eight saves in the second.
Brodeur was sharp in the first period, turning aside 10 shots, including a slap shot from between the circles by Jeff Skinner at 3:44 and an Alexander Semin hip-high tip from in tight at 6:32 that the veteran keeper turned back.
Despite playing less than 24 hours earlier against the Islanders, the Hurricanes dictated much of the action in the opening 10 minutes before the Devils finally began generating some chances. When Jokinen was whistled for hooking at 15:35, the Devils' power play went to work.
At 24 seconds into the man advantage, Kovalchuk ripped a shot from the left point that blew by Ward high on the short side. The puck went in and out of the cage with such force, the goal light never came on as the judge likely believed the puck had hit the crossbar.
After an additional three minutes of action, a stoppage of play finally allowed the officials to review Kovalchuk's shot and confirm his blast had hit the back iron just underneath the crossbar before popping out.
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