NHL Game Summary - Carolina at New Jersey
(Monday, February 18th)
Final Score: New Jersey 5, Carolina 1
Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Travis Zajac scored a goal and added an assist as the New Jersey Devils breezed past the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-1, at Prudential Center.
Martin Brodeur was steady, stopping 21-of-22 shots for New Jersey, which has won two straight and four of its last five.
Mike Mottau, Jay Pandolfo, Johnny Oduya and Zach Parise each had a goal in the win. Brian Gionta and Dainius Zubrus each chipped in with a pair of assists.
Jeff Hamilton accounted for the Hurricanes lone tally, while John Grahame made 26 saves. Carolina had a modest three-game winning streak halted.
With the victory, the Devils moved into sole possession of first place with 73 points, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Atlantic Division.
Despite the setback, Carolina still has 64 points, two in front of Washington for first in the Southeast Division.
New Jersey got off to a quick start, lighting the lamp 2:02 into the opening stanza. Zajac took a feed from Zubrus at center ice, skated into the Carolina zone and let a quick wrist shot go from the middle of the right circle that beat Grahame on the blocker side, giving the Devils the early edge.
Mottau's power-play marker a little over five minutes later put the home team up by two. With Niclas Wallin in the box serving a holding penalty, Zajac got the puck on a pass from Gionta on the left side of the net, brought it in front and had his wrist shot kicked away. But the rebound came out to the low right circle and Mottau fired it into the open net.
In a chippy first period, both teams combined for 44 minutes in penalties, including a pair of fighting majors and three 10-minute misconducts.
"Take the score out of it, they had the better first period," Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette said. "Their 20 minutes were better than ours. They skated better and got to the loose pucks."
The Devils continued to pour it on in the early stages of the second. Pandolfo's tally 1:08 into the frame off a three-on-one rush made it a 3-0 game.
"We just have to play our game, start fast and that's what we did," Zajac said. "When we play with the lead, we are tough to beat."
Hamilton's unassisted tally, a wrist shot from the high slot at 6:17, got the Hurricanes within two.
New Jersey struck again a little over three minutes later when Oduya's soft wrister from the left point got through a maze of players and past a screened Grahame, giving the Devils a three-goal cushion.
Parise tallied the lone goal of the third with three seconds remaining to account for the 5-1 final score.
Attendance was 16,182...New Jersey will host San Jose on Wednesday night, while Carolina opens a six-game homestand when it plays Boston on Tuesday night...The Devils are 3-0 against the Hurricanes this season and have outscored Carolina by a 15-3 margin...New Jersey won eight of the last nine meetings versus the 'Canes.
02/18 17:38:29 ET