The Devils beat Carolina goaltender Cam Ward twice in the final 7:48 of the third period.
newjerseydevils.com – The Devils fell into a 3-0 hole, then nearly climbed all the way out of it.
But two goals in the final 7:48 of regulation weren't enough to erase the deficit, and the Devils came up short in a 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes Tuesday in Carolina.
Already trailing by three by the time his club was awarded its first power play of the evening, head coach Brent Sutter got creative. He pulled goaltender Scott Clemmensen in favor of an extra skater, and the move paid off.
Carolina forward Justin Williams was slapped with a roughing call following a scrum in front of Hurricanes' netminder Cam Ward at 11:18, and Sutter brought Clemmensen to the bench with under eight minutes left in regulation.
The Devils capitalized on the improvised 6-on-4 advantage when Martin took Patrik Elias' cross-slot pass at the left dot to break up the shutout at 12:12. Martin's third of the season was his first goal in 20 games.
Elias brought the Devils back within a goal in the game's final minute, stuffing his 18th of the season underneath Ward with 21.5 seconds left. The goal and assist gave Elias points in four straight games (1g-5a), and improved his career points total to 674, just 27 shy of John MacLean's franchise record.
Clemmensen (15-7-1) started his 12th straight game, and finished with 25 saves. Ward also stopped 25 for Carolina, which won its fourth in a row.
New Jersey (23-13-3) lost for just the second time in its last six outings, but missed a chance to gain ground on the division lead. The Flyers picked up a point in a shootout loss at Washington and moved into a tie with the Rangers for the Atlantic's top spot.
The Devils return home to meet the Atlanta Thrashers Thursday in Newark, then head west to Los Angeles, where they open a season-high six-game road trip on Saturday.
Carolina scored once in all three periods to take a 3-0 lead. Ray Whitney struck early in the first, Sergei Samsonov followed in the second, and Tuomo Ruutu scored midway through the final frame.
A Devils turnover in their own zone led to the game's first goal. The Hurricanes gained possession deep in Devils' territory, and Rod Brind'Amour carried around the New Jersey cage to set up Whitney's 13th of the season from the slot at 1:03.
Zach Parise's delay of game minor for putting the puck over the glass gave Carolina its second power play of the game, and the Hurricanes padded their lead.
Samsonov's centering attempt from the right circle for Ruutu banked off of Martin's right skate and into the net for his eighth of the season with 4:45 left in the second.
Brandon Sutter, son of the Devils' head coach, almost added another Carolina goal seconds later, but hit the left post with his backhand attempt at 4:14. Brent and Brandon, who was drafted 11th overall by the Hurricanes in 2007, became the fifth father-son duo in NHL history to oppose each other as coach versus player.
Ruutu got his 12th to put the Hurricanes on top by three, as Eric Staal centered a 3-on-2 in the Devils' zone. Staal fed Anton Babchuk on the right wing, and Babchuk centered to Ruutu in the slot at 9:58 of the third.
Other sons to play in an game in which their father coached the opposing team: Brady Murray (L.A.) vs. Andy Murray (STL) in 2007, Landon Wilson (PHX) vs. Rick Wilson (DAL) twice in 2002; Gord Dineen (OTT) vs. Bill Dineen (PHI) in 1993 and Mark Johnson (HFD, N.J.) vs. Bob Johnson (CGY), 15 times from 1982-1987... Elias was credited with the secondary assist on Jamie Langenbrunner's tying goal Sunday versus Ottawa. The scoring change gives him 18 goals and 28 assists for 46 points this season... Colin White (upper body) missed his fifth straight game... Sheldon Brookbank was scratched.
Wrist shot -
1 - 0 CAR
Deflected shot -
2 - 0 CAR
Wrist shot -
3 - 0 CAR
Wrist shot -
3 - 1 CAR
Backhand shot -
3 - 2 CAR
Delaying Game-Puck over glass