Clarkson’s goal at 18:28 extended the Devils lead, 4-0, in tonight’s game at the RBC Center.
With the Carolina net empty, Kovalchuk gained control of the puck in his zone. The winger passed the puck to Elias at the blue line, and he found Clarkson ahead of the Carolina defense at the red line. The right-winger skated down into the zone and slid the puck into the empty net for his 10th goal of the season.
After a scrum in front of the net, Parise found the puck below the goal line. The left-winger shot the puck in off of Ward’s pads for his 36th goal of the season.
Brodeur continues to be sharp tonight, making a few nice saves in this period. Drayson Bowman carried the puck along the side boards, firing a shot at 13:50 of the period. Erik Staal crashed the net, trying to bring the puck from his backhand to his forehand. The puck skipped away from him, and Bowman put a backhanded shot on net that Brodeur stopped and held.
Carolina is clearly playing with some urgency now, but the Brodeur and the Devils have done a good job playing defense and keeping the shots manageable.
The top two lines have been buzzing the entire night. Elias and Kovalchuk continue to find quality scoring chances, and the first line of Parise – Travis Zajac – Zubrus have put 13 shots on net.
Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus scored first period goals to give the Devils their lead.
The Devils led the second period in shots, 10-7. They lead the overall shot total, 22-14.
While Brodeur hasn’t faced many shots (12 through 14:53 of the second period), but he’s had to make some very nice saves. Carolina has produced several good scoring chances, and Brodeur has met every chance with a good save.
The Devils have continued to pressure the Hurricanes in the period. New Jersey has forced turnovers, and they’re getting some quality scoring chances. It helps that Ward has been juggling the puck when it hits his glove.
The Devils led the period in shots, 12-7.
The two goals are the most the Devils have scored since Saturday, March 27, when they scored four against the Montreal Canadiens.
Elias’ goal at 18:18 of the first period extended the Devils lead, 2-0.
Ilya Kovalchuk skated the puck into the Hurricanes zone and stopped along the side boards. He sent a pass to the center of the zone, where Elias received the pass. The center held the puck and skated into the right circle. His shot sailed over Ward’s shoulder and into the net for his 16th goal of the year.
There was some confusion after the goal. The puck went in and out, and David Clarkson put in the rebound. The goal light, however, was late to go off. The referee had his arm extended to signal goal after Elias’ shot.
Zubrus’ powerplay goal at 13:13 of the first period put the Devils ahead, 1-0.
With Chad LaRose in the box for interference, Carolina couldn’t clear the puck at the point. Zach Parise tapped the puck to Zubrus, who was all alone in the left circle. The winger skated toward the net and put a wrist shot through the pads of goalie Cam Ward for his ninth goal of the season.
The Devils have played a solid first period, controlling the tempo throughout. If Mottau didn’t take the penalty, Carolina may only have one or two shots on net.
Martin Brodeur made a spectacular save at 5:48 of the first period. With Mike Mottau in the box for hooking, Brett Carson pinched from the slot and into the right circle. He took a shot, but Brodeur slid across the crease and stacked the pass to kick the puck away.
Here were the starting lineups:
Devils: Jay Pandolfo-Rob Niedermayer-Brian Rolston; Bryce Salvador-Andy Greene; Martin Brodeur.
Hurricanes: Zach Boychuk-Drayson Bowman-Patrick Dwyer; Brian Pothier-Jay Harrison; Cam Ward.
The Devils enter tonight’s game tied with Pittsburgh for the Atlantic Division. The Devils lead the division because of tiebreakers, but both teams are even with five games left. The Devils will also be looking to end a three-game losing streak.
Martin Brodeur will start in net tonight for the Devils.
Jamie Langenbrunner will not be in tonight’s lineup. The captain will be a healthy scratch. Vladimir Zharkov will also be scratched. Mark Fraser, Jay Pandolfo and Dainius Zubrus will also play.
Here are tonight’s line combinations: