The return of goaltender Martin Brodeur sparked New Jersey on Thursday; just not in the way the Devils are accustomed to seeing.
Brodeur, who had missed the last 13 games due to back soreness, was credited with his third career goal and posted 17 saves in the Devils' 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
"It was definitely nice to contribute somehow," Brodeur joked of his goal. "We haven't gotten many brakes as of late so definitely it was a welcomed one."
Brodeur's marker staked New Jersey to a 1-0 lead, while Adam Henrique, Peter Harrold and Andrei Loktionov each followed with a tally to help the Devils snap a three-game slide.
Jeff Skinner netted the lone Carolina goal, while Dan Ellis was charged for all four goals on 22 shots in the Hurricanes' fifth straight setback.
"We just need a little bit more battle, little bit more compete level," Skinner said of his team's struggles. "I think once you get that work level up, the execution will come."
With the Hurricanes shorthanded less than four minutes in, Skinner raced in on a breakaway and was hooked by New Jersey defenseman Marek Zidlicky before getting off a shot that Brodeur sticked away into the right corner.
Ellis then left the Carolina net on the delayed penalty call, but Jordan Staal's feed to the left point missed the mark and banked off the boards before trickling the length of the ice into the vacated net to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead at the 3:54 mark.
New Jersey's offense got into the act late in the second with a pair of goals in a 46-second span to blow the game open.
The first came at the 12:52 mark when Adam Larsson's point blast hit a body in front and landed on the stick of Henrique, who ripped a quick shot into the top corner of the net to make it 2-0.
Under a minute later, Harrold rifled a shot from the high slot that was blocked, but the New Jersey defenseman corralled the rebound and flipped a backhander from just inside the left circle that slipped past Ellis at the 13:38 mark for a 3-0 lead.
Skinner got the Hurricanes on the board nearly 11 1/2 minutes into the third when his blast from the right circle deflected off the stick of New Jersey defenseman Bryce Salvador and sailed high past the short-side of Brodeur to make it 3-1.
Carolina would get no closer, however, as Loktionov's power-play marker at the 16:54 mark pushed the margin to 4-1 and all but sealed the outcome.
Ellis left the game late in regulation after apparently being cut on the leg by a skate ... The Devils went 3-8-2 during Brodeur's absence ... Brodeur's power-play marker was the first by a goalie on the man advantage since Evgeni Nabokov did it with San Jose in 2002 ... Brodeur's last goal came against Philadelphia during the 1999-2000 campaign ... Carolina had taken the previous two meetings between these teams this season.