NHL Playoffs: Devils 3, Hurricanes 2
Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 19, 2009
By Joedy McCreary
RALEIGHó Travis Zajac scored at 4:58 of overtime and the New Jersey Devils beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Sunday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference playoff series.
Zach Parise scored for the third straight game and assisted on Zajac’s winner, giving the Devils a 2-1 series lead and helping them bounce back from an overtime loss two nights earlier on home ice by turning the tables on the Hurricanes.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in Raleigh.
Parise started the decisive sequence by attempting to throw the puck toward Brian Rolston, but it clicked off Anton Babchuk’s skate and to Zajac in the slot. Cam Ward stopped his wrist shot with his pads, but Zajac followed it by flipping it high past the Carolina goalie for his second career playoff goal.
Brian Gionta added a goal, Zajac assisted on Parise’s goal, and Martin Brodeur stopped 28 shots for New Jersey, which has yet to trail in regulation in the series.
Ryan Bayda and Chad LaRose scored their first career playoff goals, and Ward finished with 32 saves for Carolina, which entered 5-0 against the Devils in OT playoff games.
Well before neither team could manage anything during a scoreless third period, LaRose pulled the Hurricanes to 2-all after they failed to capitalize on a two-man advantage late in the second.
LaRose’s goal came on a redirection one second after a power play expired, when he tipped Patrick Eaves’ shot from the left circle past Brodeur with 4:30 left. That goal came after the Devils killed off both a 52-second 5-on-3 situation and the 1:08 of single-man advantage that followed for Carolina.
Before that, though, New Jersey was in control throughout the second period ó mainly because Gionta had given them both the lead and a significant momentum boost when he made it 2-1 in the final seconds of the first. He intercepted Joe Corvo’s clearing pass to Ward’s right, watched as Ray Whitney skated past and snapped the puck past the Carolina goalie with 8.6 seconds left.
That score capped an opening 20 minutes in which New Jersey seemed to adjust quite nicely to life without captain Jamie Langenbrunner.