Devils 2, Hurricanes 1

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—The New Jersey Devils and Martin Brodeur made sure they didn’t let another lead slip away Saturday night.

Sergei Brylin and Jamie Langenbrunner scored, and Brodeur stopped 30 shots as the defending Stanley Cup champions held off the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1.

The Devils lost leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in their opener against Boston on Wednesday night, settling for a 3-3 tie.

This time, Brodeur and the defense were sharp enough to hold on despite a constant attack by Carolina over the final 10 minutes.

“It makes it easier when you face quality chances,” Brodeur said about his stellar performance. “It helps you get into a groove and they had a lot of quality chances, a lot of quality chances.”

Rod Brind’Amour hit the post less than two minutes into the third, almost breaking up Brodeur’s shutout bid. The Carolina center then scored with 7 1/2 minutes left to pull the Hurricanes within one goal.

New Jersey had to kill a too many men on the ice penalty in the final 3 1/2 minutes, but Carolina managed just two shots on Brodeur on the power play and couldn’t score in the final 1:03 after pulling goaltender Kevin Weekes for an extra attacker.

“It really tightened up,” Brodeur said. “Everybody was saying, `Oh no, here we go again, getting in a battle near the end of the game.”’

But in the end, Brian Rafalski said Brodeur was the major difference in the victory.

“He buys us a lot of time,” the New Jersey defenseman said.

The Hurricanes have improved their offensive attack, but are frustrated after scoring just two goals in their first two games, starting 0-2 for the first time since 1997-98.

“We can’t keep using good goaltending as an excuse,” Jeff O’Neill said. “We’ve got to find some way to just bear down in front of the net.”

“I’m not upset with the offense except we’re not scoring goals,” coach Paul Maurice added. “It’s not like we’re not sustaining pressure or there are plays we’re just not clicking on. I don’t see a lot of mismatched chemistry on our lines.”

Brodeur was on top of his game from start to finish as he turned away a half dozen excellent scoring chances in the first two periods, allowing the Devils to build a 2-0 lead.

Weekes was also sharp early for Carolina, making a save on a short-handed breakaway by John Madden and kicking out a nice chance by Brian Gionta with seven minutes left in the first.

And Carolina killed off its first three penalties before New Jersey broke though on the power play with 1:19 left as Brylin deflected a shot from Rafalski high over Weekes’ shoulder.

O’Neill was called for three penalties in a span of 9 1/2 minutes for the Hurricanes to help New Jersey’s attack.

“It was getting a little ridiculous,” said O’Neill, who had just 38 penalty minutes in 82 games last season. “I was scared to touch anybody after that because every time I did I was in the box.”

New Jersey built its two-goal lead when Langenbrunner’s shot from the right boards surprised Weekes and the Carolina defense with 5:32 left in the second.

Brodeur was spectacular with about 12 minutes left, turning away a flurry of shots from point-blank range from Carolina’s top line before Brind’Amour scored five minutes later.

“We would like to see some tangible results but this is a process too,”Weekes said.

Notes

New Jersey’s first four goals of the season came on the power play. … Igor Larionov is off to a good start with his new team. The 42-year-old has three assists for the Devils in his first two games. … Carolina has given up the first goal in its first two games. The Hurricanes allowed the opening goalin 50 of 82 last season.

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Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Kevin Weekes NJ 22 20
Martin Brodeur StL 31 30