RALEIGH, North Carolina – The New Jersey Devils 3rd period rally was not enough to get past the Carolina Hurricanes as they go down 6-3 on the road at the PNC Arena.
The Devils’ lack of offense has left them scratching and fighting for goals late in games. It’s as if the team is not mentally on the ice until late in these periods. With Johan Hedberg in goal still for the injured Marty Brodeur the flood gates were opened for a slew of Carolina goals early leaving the Devils with a 5-1 deficit entering the last 20 minutes of play.
Five different Hurricanes were able to beat the bewildered Hedberg for goals last night.
The first coming Alexander Semin and 12:16 in the first with Jay Harrison following him up just 28 seconds later giving Carolina the early 2-0 lead. The Hurricanes are 7-0-1 this season when scoring first and this is the 9th straight game NJ has given up the first score.
For a moment all was not lost as Ilya Kovalchuk was able to score on an unassisted break away giving him his 3rd shorthanded goal of the season and 9th of his career. Unfortunately that’s where the offense came to a screeching halt until the 3rd.
Dan Ellis Carolina goaltender had a solid game making 31 saves as he fills in for the injured Cam Ward who suffered a left knee injury on Mar 3rd in Florida. Ward is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks and was placed in IR. Ellis along with his 31 saves came up with an assist at 4:42 in the second on a long pass caching NJ with their pants down in the midst of a change. The goal was scored by Jiri Tlusty giving him 12 on the season. That number would rise to 13 after beating Devils defensemen Adam Larsson late for an empty netter.
Chris Terry and Jeff Skinner were also able to score in the second period. Terry’s goal came at 11:09 and was the first of his NHL career. Terry was recalled from the Charlotte Checkers this week and was able to beat Hedberg on a rebound on the first shot of his career. Terry led the Checkers with 22 goals and 46 points. The 5th goal came off a goof by Moose at 17:15 when he failed to cover the puck allowing Jeff Skinner to place it in the back of the net giving Carolina the 5-1 hole that NJ would have to climb out of in the 3rd.
The 3rd began with a new net minder in for NJ. Jeff Frazee saw his NHL debut as well last night. Frazee marks the 2nd rookie to have replaced Hedberg in the last 3 games. We didn’t really get a look at Frazee though as he did not see too many shots against.
The 3rd opened fast for NJ as desperation sunk in with an early goal by Kovalchuk from behind the net. For a second there was a glimmer of light as Patrik Elias buried his 8th of the season but the hole was too big for NJ to rally and Tlusty was able to put the empty netter away for the 6-3 victory at home.
The Devils have won only 1 game in the last 10 in regulation time. The Devils are still hovering in the number 7 spot in the East just 1 point ahead of New York. New Jersey will take on Winnipeg tonight at the Rock in Newark.
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