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Ducks down Devils behind rookie

Anaheim 2, Devils 1
February 8, 2008 7:19:13 PM PST
Ryan Carter scored his first two NHL goals in the first period and the Anaheim Ducks completed a three-game, New York-area sweep with a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.Playing a metropolitan team for the third time in four nights, the Ducks grabbed a 2-0 lead. Jonas Hiller protected it by stopping 34 shots - 15 in the third - making defenseman Scott Niedermayer's return to New Jersey a happy one.

Niedermayer starred on all three Devils Stanley Cup championships before joining the Ducks - and brother Rob - as a free agent in 2005. He spent his first 13 NHL seasons with New Jersey.

He earned an assist on the first goal and spent the rest of the night fighting for the puck and hearing boos whenever he touched it. Niedermayer served a late penalty as the Devils pressed for the tying goal.

Longtime teammate Martin Brodeur was sharp in stopping 22 shots, beaten only by Carter. He has started 14 consecutive games and 24 of 25. Jay Pandolfo scored for the Devils.

Carter came in with four assists in 27 games, but showed skill in finding the net. Hiller kept the Ducks ahead with about 6 minutes left, turning aside Patrik Elias.

The Ducks have won three straight, topping New York's Islanders and Rangers this week as part of a team-record, nine-game road trip, on the heels of a six-game skid.

New Jersey lost at home for the sixth time in seven, squandering a chance to move into first place in the Atlantic Division. The Devils, 2-4-1 in their past seven, trail Philadelphia and Pittsburgh by a point.

Carter, who has spent two long stints in the minor leagues this season, had two goals and an assist in the New York area after sitting out at St. Louis and Philadelphia.

His first goal came after passes by Scott Niedermayer and Francois Beauchemin. Niedermayer moved the puck from behind his net to Beauchemin, who quickly sent it to Carter to the right of center ice.

Carter carried the puck into the New Jersey zone, and with Vitaly Vishnevski guarding him, let go a shot from the top of the right circle that got by Brodeur at 10:12.

It would soon get worse.

Carter steamed across the blue line, cut past Johnny Oduya, and then eluded defenseman Paul Martin with a right-to-left move toward the center. Carter used his backhand to get by Martin, and quickly snapped off a forehand shot that beat Brodeur at 17:53.

Carter had three of Anaheim's nine shots in the period.

New Jersey cut into the deficit with 4:24 left in the second when Pandolfo got a piece of Vishnevski's shot from the top of the left circle.

Pandolfo has a goal and assist in three games since returning from a 28-game absence caused by an abdominal injury.

That spoiled the shutout bid of the rookie Hiller, who gave No. 1 netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere a rest following a three-game in seven-day stretch in which Giguere stopped 77 of 78 shots.

Hiller improved to 5-4 in 15 appearances.


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