Tlusty scores a pair to lead surging Hurricanes past Devils
Jiri Tlusty had two goals, and the surging Carolina Hurricanes built an early lead and carried it through to a 6-3 victory over the slumping New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
Alexander Semin and Jay Harrison scored 28 seconds apart in the first period, and Jeff Skinner and Chris Terry — in his NHL debut — added goals for the Hurricanes, who won for the fifth time in six games. Dan Ellis made 31 saves in the victory.
Tlusty's second goal was into an empty net with 1:14 remaining.
New Jersey got two goals from Ilya Kovalchuk, including a short-handed tally, and one from Patrik Elias but that wasn't enough for the Devils to avoid their seventh loss in eight games without top goalie Martin Brodeur.
Johan Hedberg stopped only 13 of 18 Carolina shots through two periods and was replaced by Jeff Frazee, who made his NHL debut, at the start of the third.
Kovalchuk's short-handed goal with 5:20 left in the first brought the Devils within 2-1, but Carolina scored the next three goals.
The Devils lead the NHL with seven short-handed goals.
Tlusty gave Carolina a 3-1 lead at 4:42 of the second after taking a crossing pass from Semin on a play that was started by Ellis.
Terry scored his first NHL goal when he poked the puck between Hedberg's legs at 11:09 to make it 4-1. Skinner gave the Hurricanes a four-goal lead with 2:45 left in the second.
The Devils mounted a rally in the third as Kovalchuk scored 22 seconds into the period and Elias deflected in a shot by teammate Marek Zidlicky to make it 5-3.
But the Hurricanes buckled down on defense and wrapped up the win.
Ellis made his biggest save with just under seven minutes remaining when he dove and blocked a shot by Tom Kostopolous to keep the Hurricanes up by two goals. He also got help from the goalpost with two minutes left after the Devils pulled Frazee for an extra skater.
Frazee stopped all three shots he faced.
NOTES: Ellis' assist was his first point of the season. ... Kovalchuk has two goals and three assists in his last four games. ... Devils D Bryce Salvador didn't make the trip because of an upper body injury. He is day-to-day.
First Period—1, Carolina, Semin 7 (Corvo, Tlusty), 12:16 (pp). 2, Carolina, Harrison 3 (Skinner, J.Staal), 12:44. 3, New Jersey, Kovalchuk 8, 14:40 (sh). Penalties—Harrison, Car (tripping), 8:32; Kostopoulos, NJ (interference), 11:31; Elias, NJ (high-sticking), 12:49; Faulk, Car (tripping), 17:01.
Second Period—4, Carolina, Tlusty 12 (Semin, Ellis), 4:42. 5, Carolina, Terry 1 (E.Staal, Sanguinetti), 11:09. 6, Carolina, Skinner 9 (Gleason, Jokinen), 17:15. Penalties—Zajac, NJ (hooking), 9:05.
Third Period—7, New Jersey, Kovalchuk 9 (Fayne, Greene), :22. 8, New Jersey, Elias 8 (Zidlicky, Volchenkov), 4:21. 9, Carolina, Tlusty 13 (Semin, E.Staal), 18:46 (en). Penalties—None.
Shots on Goal—New Jersey 12-11-11—34. Carolina 8-10-4—22.
Power-play opportunities—New Jersey 0 of 2; Carolina 1 of 3.
Goalies—New Jersey, Hedberg 3-7-2 (18 shots-13 saves), Frazee (0:00 third, 3-3). Carolina, Ellis 4-2-0 (34-31).
A—18,680 (18,680). T—2:22.
Referees—Justin St. Pierre, Mike Leggo. Linesmen—Steve Miller, Anthony Sericolo.