The Carolina Hurricanes scored three goals in the first eight minutes of the game, knocking starting goaltender Martin Brodeur out of the contest, and went on to defeat the New Jersey Devils, 6-3 at the RBC on Saturday night.
The Canes dominated a tired Devils team early and took a 1-0 lead on a powerplay tally by Tuomo Ruutu just 1:48 into the game. Ruutu tipped in a Joe Corvo shot from the point.
It was a big night for the Finn as he also chipped in with three assists, giving him 18 points in the last 20 games.
Jeff Skinner and Sergei Samsonov each had a pair of goals and Zac Dalpe also scored one, his first career NHL tally.
The Devils worked hard in the second and third periods and tried to make a game of it while the Canes seemed to concentrate more on defense, but the opening period was too much for the visitors to overcome.
After the opening score by Ruutu, Skinner scored his first of the night as he backhanded a loose puck past Brodeur with just 4:28 gone. Then Samsonov scored his first goal, and the third of the game, on the rebound from another Corvo shot, also during a powerplay. The Canes finished the night 3-6 while with the advantage.
With about 14 minutes gone, Dalpe then lit the lamp as he fired in a shot off a nice pass by Ruutu. The youngster jumped in the air afterward and said that he'll give the puck to his parents later.
With the score 4-0, the home team took their foot off the gas a bit and the Devils tried to climb back into it. They were able to dent the scoresheet before the end of the first, then scored again early in the second, but it almost seemed like the Canes could turn on and off the pressure at will. They ended up drawing two penalties in a row midway through the second period and had over 1:30 of a two man advantage.
Paul Maurice sent out five forwards, (Ruutu, Staal, Skinner, Samsonov, and Cole), and they got the job done as Staal put on a nice shot, Ruutu was in front and got some stick on it, and Samsonov was there to knock the loose change into the net.
Jersey would add another goal in the third, but Skinner closed out the scoring when he took a great pass from Chad LaRose and buried it with less than three minutes left. LaRose made a nice hustle play and set up the rookie from behind the net.
The win was the third in a row for Carolina. Next up for them will be the Florida Panthers on Monday night at the RBC.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- While some won't be happy that the team let up after building a big 4-0 lead so early, it's difficult to keep up a constant drive. Also, the Devils came out more focused in the second period and played much better.
- Tuomo Ruutu is on fire right now. He is currently riding a four game scoring streak and has 2G and 6A in that streak. The Skinner, Ruutu, and LaRose line dominated at times and did a great job of cycling and grinding consistently in the offensive zone. Skinner also drew a couple of penalties which is exactly how that type of play is supposed to work.
- The Canes ended up being outshot 28-25. Tim Gleason, Jamie McBain, and Samsonov were tied for team honors with three shots each.
- Cam Ward had 25 saves and was solid again in net. The 28 shots are the fewest the Canes have allowed in awhile.
- Eric Staal won 56% of his faceoffs. The team finished at 49%, much higher than their season average.
- Gleason had a team high of 25:45 of ice time and has taken much of the load in the absence of Joni Pitkanen.
- The team was credited with 37 hits, led by Patrick Dwyer with seven. Zach Boychuk had five while LaRose and Gleason had four each.
- Jay Harrison had a game high six blocked shots. Gleason had four.
Below are a couple of interviews held after the game: