Gomez and Gionta set each other up for first-period goals Saturday, helping the Devils end a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
“It certainly feels good,” Gionta said. “We’re only two games into it. We’re still getting used to the guys. It’s still an adjustment and we have to keep it going.”
Jeff Friesen and Mike Rupp also scored for the Devils, and the Stanley Cup champions avoided their first four-game losing streak since November 2001.
Jeff O’Neill scored for the Hurricanes, who are winless in six (0-4-2).
“We were appalling from the time they dropped the puck to the time the buzzer finally blew and we were able to exit the ice,” Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said.
“I’m talking about the effort that you put forth in the game and the preparation you put forth in the game. There was absolutely none. Zero.”
Gomez backhanded Gionta’s rebound past Kevin Weekes at 8:56 to put the Devils up 1-0, the first goal for Gomez in 16 games.
“It was one of those things were I had been coming close,” Gomez said. “It felt good to finally get one and hopefully I don’t go 15 again.”
Gomez made a play from his knees to set up Gionta’s score and make it 2-0. Gomez was knocked down behind the Carolina net by the Hurricanes’ Marty Murray and a delayed penalty was signaled. Gomez managed to center the puck to the slot, where Gionta whipped the feed into the net at 19:28.
Friesen scored on a power play at 13:08 of the second to put New Jersey ahead 3-0. New Jersey dominated the period, outshooting Carolina 10-1. That lone Hurricanes shot cost Martin Brodeur a bid for his 75th career shutout.
Brodeur had no one to blame but himself, coming out of the crease to shoot the puck up the boards. O’Neill picked off the goalie’s clearing attempt for an unassisted score at 14:22.
Rupp increased the Devils’ lead to 4-1 at 7:18 of the third on a shot thatglanced off his leg and required a video review. ^Notes: RW Jesse Boulerice played in his 100th game with Hurricanes. … The Hurricanes are 9-15-3 since Laviolette replaced Paul Maurice as coach. … Hurricanes C Rod Brind’Amour missed the game with a strained left elbow. His status is day to day. … Hurricanes RW Justin Williams will miss about six weeks after breaking his left wrist in Carolina’s 3-3 tie with the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. … The Devils have won all four afternoon contests this season. They play another home matinee Sunday against the Los AngelesKings.