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NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Carolina

(Tuesday, April 11th)

Final Score: New Jersey 4, Carolina 3 (OT)

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Brian Gionta scored just 28 seconds into overtime as New Jersey officially clinched a playoff spot by upending Carolina, 4-3, at the RBC Center.

"I don't know if it's satisfying, or if it's a reward to the players who kept their focus and their commitment to each other," said New Jersey head coach Lou Lamoriello. "They never looked back, never criticized, never complained. Just did their job."

Gionta now has a point in 12 consecutive games for the Devils, who won their eighth straight game and remained two points behind Philadelphia for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers defeated Pittsburgh on Tuesday, 4-3. The Devils will host Philadelphia on Thursday and Sunday.

Grant Marshall and John Madden each had a goal and an assist for New Jersey. Jamie Langenbrunner also tallied a goal. Martin Brodeur made 37 saves for his 40th win of the season.

Craig Adams, Mark Recchi and Eric Staal each scored for the Hurricanes, who lost their second straight game and fell a point behind Ottawa for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Senators defeated Boston on Tuesday in overtime, 4-3.

Martin Gerber stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced for Carolina.

After Justin Williams was called for a questionable tripping penalty on Brodeur, Langenbrunner gave New Jersey a 3-2 lead with just 4:27 left to play. The Hurricanes failed to clear in their own zone before Patrik Elias collected the puck and sent a backhanded pass to center ice for Langenbrunner, who beat Gerber for his 17th goal of the season.

The game then appeared to be over when Matt Cullen was then called for holding with 1:28 left to play. Staal, however, netted his 45th goal of the season with just 46 seconds left to play to sent the game into overtime. Bret Hedican fed the puck to Staal, who was stationed to the right side of Brodeur. Staal took several whacks at the puck before he eventually slipped it past Brodeur to tie the contest at three.

The game remained tied at the end of regulation, but the Devils took advantage of the Cullen penalty as soon as overtime began. Scott Gomez fired a shot from the point that Gionta deflected past Gerber's stick side to send New Jersey home victorious.

"I'm just really disappointed," said Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette. "The game got taken away from the players, which is not the way it's supposed to be. Justin Williams [was] trying to get in on the forecheck, Brodeur shields him and actually interferes with Justin Williams and falls down, and we go to the box. It doesn't make any sense to me. There's a million hooks and holds that didn't happen out there that didn't get called, and they called two penalties that didn't exist, or should have been flipped the other way. I just didn't understand it. It's very, very frustrating for our team. That's enough on that. It's frustrating, that's all I can tell you."

The Devils drew first blood just 1:28 into the first period on an odd-man rush. Madden skated the puck into Carolina's zone along the left boards and dished back to a trailing Marshall, who fired past Gerber to give New Jersey the early advantage.

Carolina evened the score with 11:18 left in the opening period when Adams scored his 10th goal of the season on a failed clearing attempt. After Brodeur stopped shots from Frantisek Kaberle and Kevyn Adams, New Jersey cleared the puck right to Craig Adams, who fired a shot past Brodeur to make the score 1-1.

New Jersey took the lead with just 2:21 left in the second period when Madden scored his 16th goal of the season. Grant Marshall sent a cross-ice pass to a streaking Madden, who skated into the Hurricanes' zone and slipped the puck underneath Gerber's right arm to give the Devils the one-goal advantage.

Recchi answered for Carolina in the third, netting the equalizer with 11:43 left to play. The puck was harmlessly played into New Jersey's zone, but defenseman Brad Lukowich fell to the ice, allowing the Hurricanes to take advantage. After Doug Weight's initial shot found the post, Recchi fired into an open net to tie the score at two.

Game Notes

Gionta has nine goals and seven assists over his current 12-game point streak...Marshall recorded just his second multiple point game since February 1st...Carolina will host Tampa Bay on Friday in the opener of a home-and- home.

04/11 23:18:06 ET

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