The Carolina Hurricanes went into Newark, New Jersey on Tuesday night in search of their fourth consecutive win and, down the stretch, they were in position to achieve their goal, but the tide turned late and the New Jersey Devils picked up a big 4-3 win.
Out of the gates, New Jersey had a step or seven on the visiting team. The Devils got a plethora of chances early on and, while they failed to capitalize on a Justin Williams holding penalty, they were able to score the game’s first goal just under six minutes in.
2015 sixth-overall draft pick Pavel Zacha found an open space in front of Scott Darling and ripped a rebound chance into the Canes’ cage to make it a 1-0 hockey game.
After the Hurricanes failed to get much going on a powerplay, instead giving up a grade-A 2-on-1 chance to the short-handed Devils, the game was quickly slipping away from Carolina. They needed to break through, and that’s what they did.
Six minutes after the Devils opened the scoring, Phil Di Giuseppe sniped home his fifth goal of the season and his third in four games at the 11:41 mark of the opening frame to tie the hockey game at a goal apiece.
From there, the tide turned in favor of Carolina, and they capitalized off the momentum as Warren Foegele won a board battle, took the puck to the front of the net and snuck it by goalie Keith Kinkaid to give the Canes a 2-1 lead. It was the rookie’s second goal in as many NHL games.
The opening period came to a close with the Canes up 2-1 on the scoreboard, outshooting the Devils by a 17-12 margin.
Carolina kept their foot on the gas as the second period started. Jeff Skinner had a breakaway chance and very nearly beat a sprawling Kinkaid, but the goalie got just enough of the puck with his stick and managed to send it wide.
Then, with 11 minutes to go in the middle frame, Jordan Staal sprung Brock McGinn for a clear-cut breakaway, but Kinkaid made another big save and kept the game at 2-1.
From there, the Devils found another gear offensively and started pummeling Darling with shot after shot, until they finally were able to beat the 6’6” goalie with just under six minutes left in the period.
On the powerplay, Kyle Palmieri found a soft spot in the Canes’ penalty kill structure, and he ripped a pass from Taylor Hall past the outstretched blocker of Darling to tie the game at two.
New Jersey matched Carolina’s 17 first-period shots on goal with 17 of their own in period two. Darling was excellent, but the defense in front of him gave up one chance too many. The Canes got ten shots on goal in the period, most of those coming in the first ten minutes.
In the opening moments of a do or die third period, the All-Star came through with a big goal.
A scramble in front of the New Jersey net resulted in the puck going back to the high slot, where Trevor van Riemsdyk handed it off to Noah Hanifin, and the guy taken one pick before Zacha in 2015 roofed a wrist shot for his tenth of the year to give the Canes a 3-2 lead.
At 11:05 of the third period, Kyle Palmieri brought his team back yet again. Once again, it was Taylor Hall with the primary assist, as his pass was deflected home in the slot for Palmieri’s second powerplay goal of the night.
Down the stretch, it looked like the game may be pushed into overtime but, with 93 seconds left in regulation, the Devils took their second lead of the night.
Stefan Noesen netted his 12th goal of the year out in front of Darling, making it a 4-3 game, a score that would hold up through a late push from the Canes and up to the final horn.
The Devils get the come-from-behind win on home ice, ending the Hurricanes’ three-game win streak in the process. That will be the final game of the season series between the two clubs, a four-game series that New Jersey won three games of.
Darling looked phenomenal at times throughout the night, but the Devils’ offense overpowered Carolina’s battered blue line and was able to beat him four times on 45 shots on goal.
The Hurricanes will look to bounce back from this tough loss when they take on the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Friday night.
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