Tlusty scores 2 goals as surging Hurricanes beat slumping Devils 6-3
RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes kept on winning, this time at the expense of the skidding New Jersey Devils, who still can't get on track without Martin Brodeur.
Jiri Tlusty had two goals, and the surging Hurricanes built an early lead and carried it through to a 6-3 victory over the Devils on Saturday night.
New Jersey, which was in rally mode almost all night, got two goals from Ilya Kovalchuk, including a short-handed tally, and one from Patrik Elias but that wasn't enough to avoid their seventh loss in eight games without top goalie Brodeur.
"We've got to get wins. I'm not going to kid you and tell you I'm not worried," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "It concerns me that we're not scoring. You look at the shots and the chances, and there's not a huge discrepancy from three weeks ago when we were winning games.
"It's finding that fine line that we seemed to have lost."
Alexander Semin and Jay Harrison scored 28 seconds apart in the first period, and Jeff Skinner and Chris Terry — in his NHL debut — added goals for the Hurricanes, who won for the fifth time in six games. Dan Ellis made 31 saves in the victory.
Tlusty's second goal was into an empty net with 1:14 remaining.
"I think we got off to a good start and we were getting pucks to the net," Harrison said. "(Ellis) was big when he needed to be. He was a huge part of the win. But it was a complete team win for us."
New Jersey got two goals from Ilya Kovalchuk, including a short-handed tally, and one from Patrik Elias but that wasn't enough for the Devils to avoid their seventh loss in eight games without top goalie Brodeur.
"We've got to get wins. I'm not going to kid you and tell you I'm not worried," New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer said. "It concerns me that we're not scoring. You look at the shots and the chances and there's not a huge discrepancy from three weeks ago when we were winning games. It's finding that fine line that we seemed to have lost."
Johan Hedberg stopped only 13 of 18 Carolina shots through two periods and was replaced by Jeff Frazee, who made his NHL debut, at the start of the third.
Kovalchuk's short-handed goal with 5:20 left in the first brought the Devils within 2-1, but Carolina scored the next three goals.
The Devils lead the NHL with seven short-handed goals.
Tlusty gave Carolina a 3-1 lead at 4:42 of the second after taking a crossing pass from Semin on a play that was started by Ellis.
Terry scored his first NHL goal when he poked the puck between Hedberg's legs at 11:09 to make it 4-1.
"I just whacked and hacked at it," Terry said. "I just watched it trickle into the goal."
Skinner gave the Hurricanes a four-goal lead with 2:45 left in the second.
"They came quick, and that's something we obviously don't want," Hedberg said of the Hurricanes. "You've got forget it and move on."
The Devils mounted a rally in the third as Kovalchuk scored 22 seconds into the period and Elias deflected in a shot by teammate Marek Zidlicky to make it 5-3.
But the Hurricanes buckled down on defense and wrapped up the win.
Ellis made his biggest save with just under seven minutes remaining when he dove and blocked a shot by Tom Kostopolous to keep the Hurricanes up by two goals. He also got help from the goalpost with two minutes left after the Devils pulled Frazee for an extra skater.
Frazee stopped all three shots he faced.
NOTES: Ellis' assist was his first point of the season. ... Kovalchuk has two goals and three assists in his last four games. ... Devils D Bryce Salvador didn't make the trip because of an upper body injury. He is day-to-day.