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Devils 5, Hurricanes 4

Tuomo Ruutu scores game-winner against former team

Tuomo Ruutu battles Nathan Gerbe and Jay Harrison for New Jersey
Tuomo Ruutu battles Nathan Gerbe and Jay Harrison for New Jersey
Jim McIsaac

The Carolina Hurricanes continued their losing ways as they lost to the New Jersey Devils, 5-4 on Saturday night at the Prudential Center.  It was the seventh loss in the last eight games for the Canes.

After falling behind 4-1, the Hurricanes did make a valiant effort to come back and tie the score 4-4, but Tuomo Ruutu, who was just traded by Carolina to New Jersey three days ago, scored the game-winning goal with 6:30 left in the game for the home team.

The Devils lit the lamp first as Ruutu helped to set up Travis Zajac just 4:25 into the game.

Jeff Skinner would tie things up 1-1, at 6:21 into the second period.  That was the second goal in the last two games for Skinner.

New Jersey then scored three goals in a row to take command of the game, one goal a powerplay tally and one shorthanded.  Anton Khudobin was then replaced by Cam Ward in the Carolina net.

Right after the Devils scored the shortie, the Hurricanes scored their first powerplay goal in seven games.  It was not exactly a perfectly executed play, Jordan Staal ran into Jay Harrison in the sequence, but Harrison was able to get enough zip on his shot to beat Martin Brodeur to make the score 4-2.

Nathan Gerbe would score on a shorthanded breakaway chance with a nifty backhander to open the third and then Alexander Semin seemingly skated through the entire Jersey team before circling and scoring on a highlight reel type goal to tie things up at four.

But the hero of the night was Ruutu, who beat Cam Ward high glove side to win the game for his new team.  Ward ended up being the losing goalie of record because he gave up the game-winner.  He made eight saves on nine shots while Khudobin made 18 saves on 22 shots.

Gerbe's shorthanded goal was his 100th career NHL point .  Carolina now has a league best 10 shorthanded goals this season.

The Canes are not scheduled to practice on Sunday and will next face the Rangers again at home on Tuesday night.

Game Notes:

  • In the third period, Muller put Jordan and Eric Staal together along with Semin on the first line.  We might see more of that in the future.
  • The Canes outshot the Devils 33-31 and were led by Skinner with six.
  • Ryan Murphy played 26:52 and had a solid game.  He saved two potential goals during an empty net scenario late in the game, once when he batted a puck out of midair.
  • There is no postgame interview from coach Muller available.