The Carolina Hurricanes completed their recent six-game road trip with a 4-1-1 record, and have earned points in their last five games after defeating the Eastern Conference's top team the New Jersey Devils 4-2 last night at the Prudential Center. Hurricanes' forward Jiri Tlusty netted two goals for the second straight game, and captain Eric Staal extended his point streak to ten consecutive games with assists on both of Tlusty's third period goals. Cam Ward made 26 saves on 28 shots faced to record his fourth win in his last five starts.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Ryan Carter lit the lamp for the New Jersey Devils who had won five straight games going into last night's contest. Devils' starting goaltender Martin Brodeur made 21 saves on 24 shots faced, but a third period wrist shot from Jiri Tlusty proved to be the game-winner.
The Devils got the scoring started 15:59 into the first period on the powerplay when Ilya Kovalchuk blasted a slapshot from the top of the point past Cam Ward at such a high rate of speed that play actually continued for just over three minutes before there was a stop in play for the officials to review the play. The goal was Kovalchuk's fifth of the season and was assisted by Marek Zidlicky and Patrick Elias.
The Hurricanes would tie the score a mere 1:36 into the second period off a powerplay goal from Jussi Jokinen. Joe Corvo faked a shot from the point, drawing in the Devil's defense, and zipped a pass to Jokinen who had the who net open in front of him and burried the puck in the back of the net to tie the game 1-1. The goal was Jokinen's first of the season and was assisted by Joe Corvo and Joni Pitkanen.
The Hurricanes would extend the lead to 2-1 late in the second period on a tip-in goal by forward Patrick Dwyer. Hurricanes' defenseman Justin Faulk got the puck to his defensive partner Jay Harrison on the blue line and Harrison fired a slap shot through traffic and into the net behind Brodeur. The goal was initially given to Harrison but was later awarded to Patrick Dwyer after video evidence showed it deflected off Dwyer. The goal was Dwyer's fourth of the season and occurred 18:29 into the second period.
The Devils tied the score 2-2 early in the third period on an unassisted goal from forward Ryan Carter after a costly turnover by Justin Faulk in his own zone, the goal was Carter's second of the season and came just 1:34 into the third period. Despite only firing five shots on goal in the third period, compared to 14 by the Devils, the Hurricanes would take the lead for good 7:25 into the third period on a quick wrist shot from Jiri Tlusty. Captain Eric Staal skated with the puck behind the Devils' net and found Tlusty in front of the net and he buried a wrist shot high into the net past Martin Brodeur to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead. The goal was Tlusty's fourth of the season and was assisted by Eric Staal.
Jiri Tlusty added an empty net goal with 34 seconds remaining in regulation to seal the deal; the goal was Tlusty's fifth of the season and was assisted by Eric Staal and Justin Faulk. The Hurricanes return to the ice again Thursday, February 14 at 7:00 p.m. against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It will be the Hurricanes first home game since defeating the Ottawa Senators 1-0 on February 1.
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