|CAR||0||2||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|NJD||1||1||2||(0 - 0)||4|
|G: 2||Shots: 4|
|A: 0||Hits: 0|
|PTS: 2||PIM: 0|
|+/-: 0||TOI: 23:45|
|G: 1||Shots: 4|
|A: 2||Hits: 0|
|PTS: 3||PIM: 0|
|+/-: 2||TOI: 22:55|
|G: 1||Shots: 5|
|A: 0||Hits: 0|
|PTS: 1||PIM: 0|
|+/-: -1||TOI: 13:27|
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A terrible start doomed the New Jersey Devils last season, when they missed the playoffs for the first time since 1995-96.
Intent on avoiding another poor start, the Devils took a step in the right direction Monday afternoon with a solid 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes that evened New Jersey's record at 1-1. Ilya Kovalchuk scored the deciding goal and added two assists while Johan Hedberg made 24 saves.
"Everybody is in the same position right now," Kovalchuk said. "You want to get as many wins as you can early because the season always goes up and down. You want the wins now to help yourself later on."
Zach Parise had two goals and Mark Fayne added another for New Jersey, which beat Carolina for a sixth straight time at home. The Devils went seven games last year (0-5-2) before posting a win at the Prudential Center.
Hedberg, Martin Brodeur's backup, drew an early start after not making his first start last year until the eighth game. He improved to 4-0-0 over the last two seasons against the Hurricanes.
"No, nothing really surprises me any more," said Hedberg when asked about his early appearance. "I've been in every situation there is, starting and backing up. I just play it day to day and always come prepared as well as I can for every game."
"We're three games in now and you want to get that win as soon as you can," said Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. "We've played decently in the last two games, but we just haven't found one in the win column."
The Devils, sluggish throughout their 3-0 opening-night home loss to Philadelphia on Saturday, got off to a livelier start against the Hurricanes with Parise scoring 3:59 into the game.
Parise, limited to only 13 games last year with a knee injury, redirected Patrik Elias' blueline shot past Ward for the Devils' first goal of the season.
The Devils had the better chances throughout the opening period, outshooting the Hurricanes 11-8. The scoring tempo picked up in the second period, which ended 2-2.
Ponikarovsky pulled Carolina even at 1 at 8:56 with a soft shot from the high slot that found it's way through a multiplayer screen to beat Hedberg.
New Jersey countered 40 seconds later on a goal nicely engineered by Kovalchuk, who carried the puck into the Hurricanes' zone before pulling up in the left circle. Kovalchuk waited for Fayne to join the play, hitting him with a cross-ice feed that the defenseman slapped past Ward for a 2-1 lead.
Carolina pulled even again when LaRose rifled a shot under the crossbar at 12:47.
In the third, the Hurricanes had an excellent opportunity to take their first lead of the game with a 5-on-3 power play for 44 seconds. They got the extra-man advantage when Elias was whistled for goalie interference after crashing into Ward.
Jay Harrison had several big slappers from the point but none dented Hedberg.
"It was the 5-on-3 that changed the game," said Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice. "After their first bout of shots, I thought we were pretty good right through to the third period. When it's still 2-2 after the 5-on-3, then you are in trouble."
The failure to cash in was costly, and the Devils regrouped with Kovalchuk putting New Jersey up 3-2 at 6:06. Jacob Josefson chipped the puck to Kovalchuk in the slot. Ward made the initial stop but was helpless as Kovalchuk swatted in his own rebound.
Hedberg preserved the victory in the final minutes with a pad stop on Harrison's slap shot. Ponikarovsky killed any Carolina comeback hopes by picking up an interference penalty with 1:28 left.
Parise then scored into an empty net on a power play for his second goal, with Kovalchuk picking up the primary assist as the Devils top two offensive threats combined for three goals and five points
"When you are 2-2 going into the third period, those are the two guys you are counting on," said Peter DeBoer, who got his first win as Devils head coach.
Notes: This was the second of a three-game homestand for the Devils to start the season. They host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. ... The Hurricanes play six of their first eight on the road. ... The Devils scratches were D Mark Fraser, C Rod Pelley and RW Cam Janssen. The Hurricanes' scratches were defensemen Jamie McBain, Derek Joslin and Ryan Murphy. ... Devils RW David Clarkson played his 300th game. ... Parise scored his first goals since Oct. 23, 2010. On Parise's first score, Petr Sykora had his first assist as a Devil since April 12, 2002. New Jersey re-signed Sykora following a training camp tryout. ... The Hurricanes are off to their worst start since opening 2006-07 season on an 0-3-1 slide.
|Zach Parise (1) Tip-in - ASST: Patrik Elias (1), Petr Sykora (1)|
1 - 0 NJD
|Alexei Ponikarovsky (1) Tip-in - ASST: Tim Gleason (2), Bryan Allen (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Mark Fayne (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (1), Nick Palmieri (1)|
2 - 1 NJD
|Chad LaRose (1) Snap shot - ASST: Jeff Skinner (4), Bryan Allen (2)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Ilya Kovalchuk (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Jacob Josefson (1), Nick Palmieri (2)|
3 - 2 NJD
|PPG - EN - Zach Parise (2) Snap shot - ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (2), Andy Greene (1)|
4 - 2 NJD
|Jacob Josefson Holding against Alexei Ponikarovsky|
|Eric Staal Hooking against Mattias Tedenby|
|Mattias Tedenby Tripping against Jeff Skinner|
|Petr Sykora Holding against Chad LaRose|
|Dainius Zubrus Tripping against Jussi Jokinen|
|Jussi Jokinen Unsportsmanlike conduct against Dainius Zubrus|
|Joni Pitkanen Cross checking against Zach Parise|
|Justin Faulk Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Nick Palmieri Tripping against Jeff Skinner|
|Patrik Elias Interference on goalkeeper against Cam Ward|
|Alexei Ponikarovsky Interference against Patrik Elias|
|Justin Faulk Roughing against Brad Mills|
|Justin Faulk Roughing against Brad Mills|
|Brad Mills Roughing against Justin Faulk|
|SA: 25||TOI: 59:10|
|Saves: 22||EV: 15 - 18|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 5|
|SV%: .880||SH: 2 - 2|
|SA: 26||TOI: 59:59|
|Saves: 24||EV: 16 - 18|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 6|
|SV%: .923||SH: 2 - 2|