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NHL Game Summary - Carolina at New Jersey



(Saturday, April 11th)

Final Score: New Jersey 3, Carolina 2

Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Dainius Zubrus scored late in the third period to snap a tie and lift the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the regular-season finale for both teams at Prudential Center.

David Clarkson and Zach Parise each scored goals off fluke bounces for New Jersey, while Martin Brodeur made 23 saves for the Atlantic Division champions.

The Devils (51-27-4), who finished with 106 points, will be the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and will face Carolina in the first round. New Jersey won its final two games of the regular season and four of its last five after suffering through a six-game losing streak.

"It's nicer to finish on a better note," said Brodeur. "We'll take that as a positive because it was little rocky for a little while."

Carolina (45-30-7) finished the season with 97 points, dropping its final two games of the campaign after a nine-game winning streak. The Hurricanes will be the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs since Pittsburgh beat Montreal on Saturday.

Carolina goaltender Cam Ward was given the season-finale off after being pulled in the second period of Thursday's setback against Buffalo. He had started 28 consecutive games.

Michael Leighton made 32 saves Saturday in defeat.

The Devils scored a pair of goals thanks to fortunate bounces in the first period, then managed a conventional goal with 4:26 left to snap a 2-2 tie.

Brian Gionta stopped a clearing attempt along the right boards, chased down the puck behind the net and fed a pass to the right side of the crease for Zubrus, who beat Leighton high for his 15th goal of the season.

Carolina was unable to mount a serious threat in the closing moments.

The Devils took advantage of a fortunate bounce to grab a 1-0 lead just 2:52 into the contest. Brian Rolston's dump-in from the center line took a strange carom off the end boards and went directly to Clarkson, who deposited a shot from the right circle into a wide open net after Leighton had left the crease in an attempt to play the puck behind the cage.

Leighton then turned aside a 2-on-1 moments later with a stop on Parise's shot from the left circle and the Hurricanes tied it on a power play soon after. Babchuk scored his 15th of the season on a blast from just above the right circle at the 6:34 mark.

Another puck bounced the Devils' way with 8:03 left in the period during a delayed penalty. Leighton left the crease to play a dump-in by Niclas Havelid, but the puck again bounced off the end boards and this time toward the vacated crease. Carolina defenseman Joe Corvo appeared to touch the puck, which would have signaled a stoppage for the penalty to be called, but Parise was also there for New Jersey and helped bang it into the empty cage for his 45th goal of the season.

The Hurricanes nearly tied it in the closing seconds of the first when Erik Cole broke in alone. Brodeur missed a poke-check and Cole completely missed the wide open cage.

After a scoreless second period, the Hurricanes cashed in another power play at 4:42 of the third to tie it as Babchuk again blasted a shot from the center point through Brodeur.

Game Notes

The Devils beat the Hurricanes for the first time in four tries this season. Ward had been in net for the other three games, allowing just five goals in those contests...Rolston picked up a pair of assists for New Jersey...Babchuk notched nine power-play goals this season and posted eight points in his final four games...Carolina's Matt Cullen missed his eighth straight game with a foot injury.

04/11 22:02:03 ET


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