RALEIGH, N.C. – With his team down three against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, New Jersey coach Brent Sutter pulled his goalie when the Devils got a power play with about nine minutes left in the game.
The catch was that move put extra pressure on his son, Brandon, who was trying to kill the penalty for the Hurricanes. “Can you believe he did that while his kid was on the ice?” Carolina coach Paul Maurice said.
While New Jersey scored on that power play, Brandon got the last laugh when Carolina withstood a late rally to beat the Devils 3-2.
Sergei Samsonov scored his 200th career goal for the Hurricanes, who extended their winning streak to a season-high four games.
It was the fifth time in NHL history a father coached against his son.
“Once the game got started, which I kind of figure would (happen), my focus was behind the bench and making sure I was doing the right things,” Brent Sutter said. “His focus was to play the game. I thought he played pretty well.”
Brandon Sutter nearly scored a goal, hitting the post late in the second period.
“If he was paying attention to me, that’s probably why they lost,” Brandon Sutter said.
Ray Whitney and Tuomo Ruutu also scored for Carolina. Cam Ward continued his recent surge for the Hurricanes, making 26 saves.
Paul Martin scored for the Devils on the power play in the third period to break Ward’s shutout. Patrik Elias added another with 21.5 seconds left to bring the Devils within one.
New Jersey pulled goalie Scott Clemmensen both times it got a power play in the third period, creating two 6-on-4 advantages. The ploy worked – after Martin scored on the first, Carolina couldn’t hit the open net on the second.
“You’re not creating anything offensively, so what have you got to lose,” Brent Sutter said. “If you’re on the power play you’ve got a two-man advantage. We were down three goals. It wasn’t like we were down a goal. We weren’t generating a whole lot. We took the chance and it paid off.”
New Jersey had won four of its past five.
The Hurricanes opened the scoring 1:03 into the game when Rod Brind’Amour forced a turnover behind the Devils’ net.
Brind’Amour stole the puck from New Jersey defenceman Bryce Salvador and fed it out front to Whitney, who beat Clemmensen glove side.
There weren’t many scoring chances over the next two periods, but Carolina took advantage of a Zach Parise penalty to build its lead shortly before the second intermission.
With Parise in the box for delay of game, Carolina defenceman Joe Corvo carried the puck over the blue-line and tried to shovel it ahead to Samsonov. After a deflection, Samsonov corralled the puck and tried to centre it, but the puck went off Martin’s skate and past Clemmensen.
Ruutu added to the Hurricanes’ lead when he finished a nice pass from defenceman Anton Babchuk midway through the third period.
“Tonight was a huge win,” Maurice said. “It’s important to beat teams that are ahead of you in the standings. It gives you confidence that you’re in the chase. You’re not just necessarily fighting the teams that are behind you.”
Clemmensen, who was making his 12th straight start, made 25 saves.
New Jersey is 9-3-1 in regular-season games at Carolina since the start of the 2001-02 season.
Notes: New Jersey defenceman Colin White (upper-body injury) missed his fifth straight game. … Patrick Eaves returned for Carolina after missing one game with an upper-body injury. … Carolina didn’t have a player miss the game due to injury for the first time since Feb. 6, 2007, a span of 140 games.