newjerseydevils.com – Don't expect the Devils to write off the Carolina Hurricanes after one game.
Jersey's Team controlled the series opener in Wednesday's 4-1 win, but knows Carolina will be hungry to try and even the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal in tonight's Game 2 (7:30 p.m., MSG Plus, WBBR 1130 AM).
The first win is the first step. Captain Jamie Langenbrunner believes the Devils still have plenty of work to do against a team that will likely be even more motivated the second time around.
"You always have to expect your opponent to be at their best," Langenbrunner said. "If we expect anything less than that, we're kidding ourselves."
New Jersey led 1-0 after Mike Mottau's second tally in six career postseason games. The Devils' top three goal-getters in the regular season took over from there.
Leading scorer Zach Parise struck in the first minute of the second period, and Patrik Elias got his 40th career postseason goal to stake the Devils to a 3-0 lead. Langenbrunner, who set a career high with 29 goals during the campaign, made it 4-1 midway through the third.
Though 0-for-4 on the power play, the Devils registered 13 shots with the man advantage. The Hurricanes had no shots in two power-play chances.
"I think we played a good game, took away a lot of their time and space," Langenbrunner said. "It was one of those nights where the puck was on our tape and we found a lot of the bounces. We have to continue to try and push for that. We know they're going to come out even harder (tonight) and be more desperate. (Game 1) was anything but an easy game."
Carolina's Ray Whitney broke up Martin Brodeur's bid for his 23rd career postseason shutout midway through the third period. Langenbrunner responded 29 seconds later, proving things can change quickly in the postseason.
"They had a few opportunities," said Langenbrunner. " Look, (Chad) LaRose came in point-blank and (Whitney) got a rebound off that. Games can change so quickly. One goal means such a difference, especially this time of year."
Brodeur finished with 18 saves for his 96th playoff victory but cautioned that this is no time for overconfidence. The Hurricanes won nine straight before dropping back-to-back games to end the regular season.
"The worst thing would be to take stuff for granted or say it'll be easy," Brodeur said. "These guys are hungry to get back and play well. They were hot for the longest time and now they've lost a few games and you don't want them to get that feeling back – that could be dangerous. You have to play them well and make them earn what they get, that's the bottom line."
One key for the Devils was the play of the line of John Madden, Jay Pandolfo and Brandon Shanahan. It had the checking assignment on Eric Staal, Eric Cole and Tuomo Ruutu and limited Carolina's top line to four shots.
"It's going to be harder," Madden said. "Friday is going to be harder. Sunday is going to be harder. It's just going to get harder. Even though we won Game 1, we have to figure how to win Game 2, and when that is over win Game 3, until the series is done. That's the mentality we need to have.
"I don't think they had their best game and I am expecting a lot different tomorrow," Madden added.