Two desperate hockey teams met in Raleigh on Saturday night, both needing a win to help keep slim playoff hopes alive. The New Jersey Devils were three points outside of a playoff spot while the Carolina Hurricanes were six points away. It turned out that the Devils wanted it a bit more as they defeated the Hurricanes, 3-1 in front of 16,123 fans at the PNC Arena.
Riley Nash may have summed it up best when he said after the game that there was a fine line between playing your hardest, and doing anything to win. Even though the Devils had played the night before and were missing key players, they had that something extra on this night.
Once again, the Hurricanes made costly turnovers and mistakes, which led to goals for the opposition.
After a turnover at the Carolina blueline, Dainius Zubrus opened the scoring at 15:33 into the first period when he broke in alone on Anton Khudobin and beat the goalie with a nifty backhander.
In the second period, Jeff Skinner tied the game on a laser of a shot that was not ruled a goal until after a review. But that would be the only scoring for the home team.
The Devils took the lead, 2-1 after Marek Zidlicky sent a shot toward the Carolina net that Travis Zajac tipped past Khudobin. The puck hit the post and had some wicked back-spin as it bounced back across the goal line.
In the third period, the Devils controlled play for the opening 10 minutes or so and put numerous shots on goal before the Hurricanes mounted much of an attack. When the home team did gain some steam, Cory Schneider was equal to the task.
Schneider made 26 saves on 27 shots for the night.
With a minute and change left, the Canes called time out and pulled their goalie so they could use an extra attacker, but Zubrus stole a weak pass across the blueline and skated it to center ice before salting away the game with an empty-netter.
The Canes will take Sunday off before returning to the PNC on Monday morning for the annual team photo.
Keep in mind that the Hurricanes Alumni game will be played on Sunday at 3 p.m. Admission to the event is free.
- The Canes had 27 shots on goal and were led by Alexander Semin with six. The Russian also had a team high 24:33 of ice time.
- Kirk Muller scratched Drayson Bowman in this game who was ready to play and went with seven defensemen. Mike Komisarek was low man with 5:26 of ice time while Justin Faulk led the blueline with 23:54.
- Brett Bellemore had five hits and four blocked shots, both team highs. Jay Harrison also had five hits.
- For postgame quotes, check out Canes PR.com.