NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Carolina
(Monday, December 26th)
Final Score: Carolina 4, New Jersey 2
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Cam Ward was credited with his first career goal in a bizarre late-game sequence as Carolina downed New Jersey, 4-2, at RBC Center.
"It was just a fluke thing that happened," Ward sheepishly admitted after the game. "It would have been nicer if (Brandon) Sutter could have gotten credit because he works so hard. It is what it is."
Sutter -- who was robbed of the second multi-goal game of his career -- Tuomo Ruutu and Anthony Stewart also tallied for the Hurricanes, who have won two in a row and three of five.
Ward, who became the first goaltender in Whalers/Hurricanes history to have a goal to his credit, also stopped 23 shots to record his 12th win of the year.
David Clarkson and Adam Henrique provided late-game scores for the Devils, who have dropped two of three.
Johan Hedberg allowed three goals on 33 shots in defeat.
Hedberg was sent to the bench in the final minute, setting the stage for Hurricanes history.
Ilya Kovalchuk intended to pass from along the goal line back to Henrique near the left point, but the puck eluded a falling Henrique and slid all the way down into the visitors' net with 29.4 seconds left.
Initially, the goal was credited to Sutter, after video evidence appeared to show him tipping the Kovalchuk pass ever so slightly. But upon further review after the end of the game, Ward was given the goal since he was shown to be the last Carolina player to touch the puck.
"I don't know how to explain it. I should make better decisions than that, definitely," Kovalchuk said. "We find a way to make the game interesting and we were working hard, but a bad decision by me cost us the game."
The unlikely tally cancelled out a spirited comeback by the visitors.
Clarkson put the Devils on the board inside of eight minutes left with a blistering shot from the right wing. Henrique then pulled New Jersey within 3-2 when an errant shot from Clarkson hit a 'Canes defender and squirted to him for a tap-in with 2:20 remaining.
Sutter's seventh of the season, at 11:13 of the first period, was the lone score in the opening 20 minutes. It came during a 2-on-1 short-handed rush, when the young forward ripped a shot by Hedberg from the right circle.
Carolina boosted that edge to 3-0 by the end of the second on scores from Ruutu and Stewart just over 10 minutes apart.
Chris Mason of the Nashville Predators was the last netminder to be credited with a goal, in a 5-1 win over Phoenix on April 15, 2006...The last time the Hartford/Carolina franchise was involved in such a scenario came on March 6, 1996, when Detroit's Chris Osgood shot and scored an empty-netter in a 4-0 victory against the Whalers in Hartford...New Jersey had won five in a row over Carolina...The Devils had their road win streak halted at four games...The Hurricanes have won three of their last four on home ice...Tim Brent posted two assists for the victors...Anton Volchenkov recorded helpers on both New Jersey scores.
12/26 23:59:07 ET