NEWARK, N.J. – Carolina forward Patrick Dwyer and goalie Cam Ward didn’t have time to think about what they were doing on the ice during the biggest moments of the game. Their instincts were good enough to carry the Hurricanes to victory.
Dwyer scored a short-handed goal in the second period and Ward made a save while flat on his back in the waning seconds as the Hurricanes held on to defeat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Wednesday night.
“I just raced down and sometimes it’s better in that situation because you don’t think about what you’re going to do,” said Dwyer, whose backhand made it 4-1. “You read the goalie and you let your instincts take over. I made the move and I was glad to see it go in.”
Ward made the most spectacular of his 19 saves while the Devils were pressing forward with six skaters. Adam Henrique appeared to have an open net with Ward flat on his back, but the goalie managed to make a sweeping glove save with 2:33 left.
“Mad scramble in front and I was on my back and it was very difficult for me to get up,” Ward said. “It was a desperation save. I kept my eyes on it. He gave me a chance by trying to put it in the middle of the net and my glove was there.”
Jaromir Jagr made it interesting when he scored with 1:47 left for the Devils. It was the 691st goal of his career, moving him past former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Mario Lemieux for ninth place in NHL history.
“Even when we were down, 4-1, we believed we could come back and we almost did,” Jagr said. “They were making great blocks all night. They don’t hold the puck, they shoot and that’s how they scored their goals. We need to put more pucks on net.”
Justin Faulk scored his first of the season, and Tuomo Ruutu and Ron Hainsey each had a goal for the Hurricanes. Eric Staal’s assist extended his season-best points streak to seven games.
Travis Zajac and Andy Greene also scored for the Devils, who lost their third in a row—all with Martin Brodeur in goal.
New Jersey goalie Cory Schneider told reporters after the team’s morning skate that he was “frustrated” Brodeur was scheduled to start for the third straight game.
“Yes, I’m surprised,” Schneider said. “I’m trying to work and do what I can, but I’d like to see the ice a little bit more.”
Faulk gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead in the first period before Ruutu, Hainsey and Dwyer each scored in the second.
Ruutu made it 2-0 at 1:50 of the second after taking a backhand pass from behind the net from Staal. Zajac’s goal at 4:21 cut it to 2-1.
Hainsey extended the margin with a slap shot that tipped off the stick of Devils centre Patrik Elias and past Brodeur at 8:16.
Dwyer’s short-handed goal came at 15:43 on the first power play of the game for either team. Dwyer stole the puck from Greene and broke in alone, shifted the puck to his backhand and slid it between Brodeur’s legs to make it 4-1.
“Anytime you can get goals like that on Marty it’s a big deal, because once he gets rolling he can be hard to beat,” Dwyer said.
Greene redeemed himself when he unloaded a slap shot that beat Ward, slicing the deficit to 4-2 at 8:30 of the third period. Greene’s third goal of the season was set up by Elias and Steve Bernier.
Carolina struck at the 6:44 mark of the first period when Faulk fired a low shot from the right point that beat Brodeur to the glove side.
Neither team was whistled for a penalty in the first period, with Carolina gaining a 12-6 advantage in shots. Overall the shots were even at 22, with Brodeur stopping 18 before a sellout crowd of 16,592.
NOTES: Staal has three goals and five assists during his points streak. … Dwyer has four goals this season, two short-handed. … Next up for Jagr on the career goals list are Steve Yzerman (692) and Mark Messier (694). … C Stephen Gionta (ankle) was placed on injured reserve by the Devils, retroactive to Nov. 23.