The Carolina Hurricanes were afraid that they might have a rough start to the 2011-12 season, and after their first three games to start things off, it looks like their fears are becoming a reality. The New Jersey Devils controlled the game early, jumped out to 1-0 lead, withstood a Carolina rally, then scored two goals in the third period to defeat the visiting Canes, 4-2 on Monday afternoon at the Prudential Center.
The loss gives Carolina an 0-2-1 record.
The Canes went 0-5 on the powerplay, including 43 seconds of a 5-on-3, and for the third straight game, allowed a 5-on-3 chance, although in this contest they were able to kill off that opportunity.
Zach Parise started the game off with a tipped in goal off a shot by Patrik Elias at 3:59 into the game. The Devils had controlled play almost the entire time up until the goal.
The Hurricanes drew even about midway through the second period when Alexei Ponikarovsky redirected a Tim Gleason pass under Johan Hedberg. Brandon Sutter deserves some credit on the play for a well-timed screen on the goalie.
But the Devils would strike back just 40 seconds later when a trailing Mark Fayne would blast a shot past Cam Ward to give the home team a 2-1 lead.
The Canes would fight back though as Chad LaRose ripped a shot of his own past the Jersey goalie at 12:47 in the period. The second period would end 2-2, but the third period belonged to the Devils as Ilya Kovalchuk would score the game-winner six minutes and change into it.
Parise would finish things off with an empty netter, powerplay goal with just 1:06 left in the game.
Things don't get easier for their next contest on Wednesday night because they face the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins.
- It was another tough night for penalties as the Canes were whistled seven times for a total of 14 minutes. Even though they were able to kill off those penalties, (except for the empty netter), it's still not good to put yourself in that position and a couple of those penalties killed off momentum.
- The refs seem to have Jussi Jokinen's number this season. This game he was called for diving after being tripped by Dainius Zubrus.
- Jeff Skinner picked up another assist, (on the LaRose goal), and now has five points in the three Carolina games.
- The Canes had 26 shots on goal, led by LaRose with five and Tomas Kaberle and Justin Faulk with three each. According to our inside stat man, the Devils had 14 scoring chances to 11 for Carolina.
- For the first time this season, the Canes allowed fewer than 30 shots. Cam Ward allowed three goals on 25 attempts for an .880 save percentage. Ward has now allowed eight goals in his first two games this season, although they were tough chances to say the least.
- The team was credited with 14 hits, led by Jiri Tlusty with three.
- They finished at 50% in the faceoff circle. Staal 62%, Sutter 40%, Jokinen 44%, Brent 38%.
Zac Dalpe continues to be buried on the bench. In this game he had a team low 11 shifts for the game with 6:42 of ice time. Management needs to look at this and see if it's best for his development.
Check out what Paul Maurice had to say next: