Jokinen’s empty net goal increased the Hurricanes lead, 5-2, over the Devils in the third period of tonight’s game at the RBC Center.
Jokinen stripped Kovalchuk at the blue line and picked up the puck in the Devils zone. With Mike Mottau cutting over to block the shot, Jokinen lifted a shot into the empty net for his second goal of the game.
Brian Rolston’s powerplay goal at 17:02 of the period cut the Hurricanes lead to two.
With Staal in the box for roughing, Zajac received a pass down near the goal line. Rolston came down from the point all alone, and Zajac found him with a pass across the crease. Rolston put the puck high for his 17th goal of the season.
Zach Parise’s goal at 7:26 ended Peters’ shutout bid.
Ilya Kovalchuk entered the Hurricanes zone and lost the puck in the slot. Parise grabbed the loose puck and had his first shot blocked by Peters. The rebound came to Parise’s stick, and he put the puck high for his 28th goal of the season.
Brian Rolston had a goal disallowed at 11:04 in the period. Rob Niedermayer brought the puck behind the net and came out along the goal line. He passed the puck to the front, where the puck went off of Rolston’s skate and off a Hurricane before finding the back of the net. When the goal was reviewed, however, video showed a distinct kicking motion from Rolston and disallowed the goal.
If the goal was allowed, the score would have been 4-2.
Lemaire has tinkered with his line combinations in the third. Patrick Elias is no longer centering Jamie Langenbrunner and Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk moved up to play with the top line, and Vladmir Zharkov moved up to play with Langenbrunner and Elias.
Yann Danis has played extremely well since entering the game at 3:27 in the period. He’s made several key saves to keep this game from getting out of control.
Rookie Matt Corrente and Tom Kostopoulos fought at 6:25 of the period. Corrente landed several rights and clearly won the fight.
Jussi Jokinen’s goal at 3:27 stretched the Hurricanes lead to four.
Once again, it was Whitney who was involved in the play. Whitney held the puck along the boards and spun away from Travis Zajac. He passed the puck to Jokinen in the left circle, who one-timed the puck over Brodeur’s shoulder for his 22nd goal of the season.
The Devils came out flat in this period, and the Hurricanes jumped all of them. It wasn’t a matter of whether they would score their four goal, but when they would score it.
Shortly after that goal, Devils coach Jacques Lemaire pulled Martin Brodeur and inserted Yann Danis.
The second period was one to forget for the Devils. They took four penalties in the period (including allowing a 5-on-3), and allowed two powerplay goals. The Hurricanes consistently caused turnovers and pressured the Devils into mistakes. If the Devils have any hope in getting back in the game, they need to play with some sense of urgency in the third period.
The Hurricanes outshot the Devils, 10-7, in the third period and lead in total shots, 17-15.
Ray Whitney scored his second powerplay goal after his 5-on-3 goal one minute earlier. Tim Gleason took a shot that hit the post and stopped in the crease. Brodeur reached back to get the puck, but Whitney raced into the crease and put the puck into the empty net for his 19th goal of the season.
The Devils have now been outscored, 14-2, in the second period of their last seven games.
Whitney scored his first goal of the period on a 5-on-3 powerplay chance at 4:34 in the second.
With Dainius Zubrus (hooking, 2:46) and Rob Niedermayer (holding, 4:06) in the box, Erik Staal brought the puck across the blue line. He skated to the top of the left circle, where he stopped and passed the puck to Whitney in the center of the right circle. Whitney one-timed a shot past a diving Brodeur for his 18th goal of the season.
Zach Boychuk’s first career NHL goal at 16:47 of the first period gave the Hurricanes the one goal lead.
Carolina created their scoring chance off a turnover by Devils defenseman Anssi Salmela. After Brandon Sutter forced the turnover, the Hurricanes worked the puck to the point. Hurricanes defenseman Brett Carson fired a shot that was blocked in front, and Boychuk found the puck in the slot. Sutter crashed the net, taking Brodeur down with him, and Boychuk took a backhanded shot that hit Mark Fraser’s stick and went over the Devils goalie and into the net.
The Devils led the first period in shots, 8-7.
So far tonight, the Devils are 0-for-3 on the powerplay. Carolina is playing very aggressively, pressuring the Devil and forcing them to make a bad pass. It’ll be interesting to see how the Devils will adjust to their kill.
The Hurricanes are 27-for-28 in penalty kill opportunities in the month of February (including tonight’s game).
Carolina had a goal waved off by the referees during a powerplay chance at 9:17 of the first period. With Zach Parise in the box for hooking, the Hurricanes put the puck on Brodeur. Jussi Jokinen crashed the net and knocked the puck in, but the referee already had his whistle to his mouth, signaling a stoppage in play. Replays show the puck was still loose when the referee brought the whistle to his mouth.
Zach Parise had a great scoring chance at 4:10 of the first period, but he couldn’t bury the puck. After Jamie Langenbrunner fired a shot on Peters, the rebound trickled out to Parise’s stick. He tried to go low, but Peters put out the pad to make the save.
This is the final game for both teams before the Olympic break.
Martin Brodeur will get the start for the Devils. Justin Peters will be in net for the Hurricanes.
Devils defenseman Anssi Salemela will suit up for the Devils tonight after missing the past two games with a suspected concussion. Salmela received the concussion after a hit from the Philadelphia Flyers Jeff Carter in Monday night’s game.
Devils center Dean McAmmond will be sidelined tonight. He’s out with an upper-body injury.
Here are the lines for tonight:
Ilya Kovalchuk – Patrick Elias – Jamie Langenbrunner
Jay Pandolfo – Rob Niedermayer – Brian Rolston
Vladmir Zharkov – Rod Pelley – Matt Corrente
Bryce Salvador – Andy Greene
Colin White – Mike Mottau
Anssi Salmela – Mark Fraser