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(Saturday, March 8th)
Final Score: New Jersey 5, Carolina 4
Newark, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Tuomo Ruutu's first goal with his new team sent the New Jersey forward's former squad to their second straight defeat.
Ruutu registered the game-winner with 6:30 remaining to lift the Devils to a 5-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at Prudential Center.
Acquired from the Hurricanes prior to Wednesday's trade deadline, Ruutu also tallied an assist, while Adam Henrique scored twice and Travis Zajac contributed a goal and two helpers for the Devils, who have won four of their last six games.
"It couldn't have come any bigger for (Ruutu) against his former team and the winner," Devils forward Ryane Clowe said of Ruutu scoring the game-winner against his old team. "Real good guy, happy for him."
Damien Brunner also lit the lamp, while Martin Brodeur backstopped the victory with 29 saves.
Alexander Semin notched a goal and an assist, while Jay Harrison, Jeff Skinner and Nathan Gerbe each scored once for the Hurricanes, who have lost six of their last eight games.
Anton Khudobin allowed four goals on 22 shots before being removed midway through the second period. Cam Ward stopped 8-of-9 shots in relief.
Brunner and Henrique scored 23 seconds apart midway through the second before Henrique potted his second straight goal with New Jersey shorthanded at 12:51 to provide the Devils with a 4-1 lead.
Harrison netted a power-play goal just 33 seconds later to bring Carolina within two, but a roughing minor against Skinner 3:56 into the third put the Hurricanes down a man.
However, Jordan Staal stole a pass near his own blue line and pushed the puck ahead to Gerbe, who converted the breakaway with a backhander over Brodeur's glove to make it 4-3 at 4:41.
Semin snuck a low shot from the slot past Brodeur at 12:39 to tie the tilt, but Ruutu restored New Jersey's lead with a wicked wrister from the high slot just 51 seconds later.
Carolina couldn't solve Brodeur from there, allowing the Devils to escape with the victory.
"It takes a full 60 minutes to get the win at the end of the night and tonight we fell just short of that," Carolina defenseman Ron Hainsey said. "We need to all the way if we want to get some wins."
Zajac tapped one home from in front off a nice feed from Ruutu to make it 1-0 just 4:25 into the game, but Skinner brought Carolina even 6:21 into the second when he tipped in Andrej Sekera's left point blast that missed the net and caromed off the end boards.
Brunner buried a backhand from the low left side with New Jersey on the power play at 8:34, while Henrique followed with a nifty backhander over Khudobin's glove at 8:57 to give the Devils a 3-1 lead.
Henrique extended his goal streak to six games ... Ruutu, who had five goals and 11 assists in 57 games with Carolina this season, was acquired in exchange for forward Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third-round draft choice in 2017 ... Brodeur recorded his third straight winning decision ... Both teams went 1-for-2 on the power play ... Staal registered two assists for Carolina, while Marek Zidlicky picked up a pair of helpers for the Devils.
03/08 23:20:31 ET
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