Hurricanes 4, Devils 2

Jim Hague, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jiri Tlusty snapped a 2-2 tie by scoring a power-play goal with 13 minutes remaining in the third period, then added an empty-net goal with 33.6 seconds left, leading the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.
The win enabled the Hurricanes to remain unbeaten in their last five games (4-0-1) and improve to 7-4-1 overall. The loss was the first home setback for the Devils (8-2-3), who entered the game with an 11-game unbeaten streak at home dating back to last season.
Jussi Jokinen scored his first goal of the season early in the second period after Ilya Kovalchuk gave the Devils a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Patrick Dwyer snapped a 1-1 tie with his fourth goal of the season on a deflection, then Ryan Carter made a great play to steal and score to tie the game once again at 2-2 just 1:34 into the third period. It set up Tlusty's heroics, scoring his fourth of the season after Mark Fayne was whistled for interference.
Cam Ward stopped 26 shots in goal to gain the victory, while Martin Brodeur made 21 saves in goal for New Jersey.
Getting outplayed through the first two periods, the Devils put the pressure on the Hurricanes from the third period faceoff. Carter made a great steal in front of the goal and backhanded his shot past Ward for the game tying goal just 1:34 into the final period.
But the Hurricanes stayed focus and got the tie-breaking goal from Tlusty off a fine pass from Eric Staal at the 7:25 mark of the third period.
The Devils had a frantic attempt in the closing seconds, with Kovalchuk's shot trickling just wide of the goal, then Tlusty sealed things with his fifth goal of the season while Brodeur went to the bench to give the Devils an extras skater.
The Hurricanes dominated the early play, keeping the pressure on Brodeur for most of the first 10 minutes. Alexander Semin deflected a slap shot and almost caught Brodeur off-guard at the 6:30 mark. Jeff Skinner had a backhand attempt that an alert Brodeur smothered at the 7:49 mark and Jordan Staal was thwarted from point blank range by Brodeur at the 9:58 mark.
The Devils' best chance came off the stick of Carter, whose slap shot was kicked aside by Ward with 10 minutes left in the first period.
Kovalchuk was taken down in front of the goal by Jokinen with 4:25 left as he appeared to have a wide open chance of putting one by Ward.
In the opening stages of the power play, the Devils seemed to score the first goal on a wicked wrist shot by Kovalchuk, but it was first waved off and the action went on for more than two minutes. With 49 seconds left in the period, there was finally a stoppage of play.
After review, it was ruled that Kovalchuk did score, his fifth of the season. Four minutes were put back on the clock, but the Devils had the 1-0 lead. Marek Zidlicky and Patrik Elias received assists on the play.
The first period ended with the Devils ahead, but with Jacob Josefson in the penalty box for hooking.
Brodeur, who has been brilliant so far this season, had 10 saves in the first period.
The second period began with Josefson in the box and the Hurricanes made the Devils pay. Joe Corvo made look like he was going to take a slap shot from the left wing, but he drew the defense towards him, Corvo slid it across to Jokinen, who fired it past Brodeur for the power play goal just 1:36 into the second period, tying the game at 1-1.
The Hurricanes almost had the lead at 4:23 of the second period when Jiri Tlusty's slap shot got behind Brodeur, who first lost sight of the puck, then dove on it before any Carolina player could get the rebound.
Carolina took the lead late in the second period, when Jay Harrison's slap shot was deflected past Brodeur by Patrick Dwyer, who was the source of much traffic in front of the net. Dwyer's goal with 1:31 left in the third was his fourth of the season and gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead.
NOTES: Before the game, Devils coach Peter DeBoer was asked why his team was off to such an outstanding start. "We're finding ways to win," said DeBoer, whose team entered last night's game with a five-game win streak. "Not every game is a perfect 60-minute effort, but we've shown as a group the ability to fix things in games before it comes to hurt us. We found the things and corrected things and that has allowed us to win games." ... DeBoer talked about the Devils' home unbeaten streak, which stood at six games (5-0-1) this year and is 11 games (9-0-2) dating back to last season. "We definitely have a home ice advantage, thanks to our fans. I think there's been a positive carryover from last year and I think that's part of the reason why we're doing so well." ... DeBoer on team captain Bryce Salvador: "He's taken on the identity of the team with the way he plays. He personifies what we stand for. He's a guy who is all business. I couldn't ask for a better model that the guy who wears the 'C' on his sweater." ... The Hurricanes did not have a morning skate after having played on Long Island and defeating the Islanders, 6-4, on Monday. ... The game marked the return of former Devils great Kirk Muller as the Hurricanes' head coach. Former Devils standout and head coach John MacLean is an assistant coach with Carolina. ... Devils D Mark Fayne missed the morning skate due to a death in the family, but was in the starting lineup.

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