Devils fall to Carolina

March 18, 2009 7:05:57 PM PDT
Anton Babchuk scored twice and Eric Staal added a goal as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Martin Brodeur-less New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Wednesday night. Carolina began a homestand by snapping a three-game losing streak - including two in shootouts - and ending the Devils' four-game winning run. The Hurricanes have won a season-high six in a row at home.

New Jersey played without Brodeur, who set the NHL record for career goalie wins by beating Chicago for No. 552 on Tuesday night. It was the first time Brodeur missed a start in 10 games since returning from an elbow injury on Feb. 26.

Kevin Weekes made 28 saves in place of Brodeur.

The Hurricanes, with 81 points, moved into a tie with Montreal for seventh place in the Eastern Conference - three points above ninth-place Florida and the postseason cutoff.

Carolina scored all of its goals on the power play against the Devils, who are among the best penalty-killers on the road. New Jersey, second in the East, allowed three man-advantage goals in a game for only the second time this season.

Babchuk, who notched his first multigoal game of the season, opened the scoring 10 minutes in with a poke at the right post after Weekes was unable to control a pair of rebounds. Staal gave Carolina a 2-0 lead 1:25 into the second period with a sharp-angle slap shot from the bottom of the right circle.

Zach Parise scored New Jersey's first goal when the Devils were on a 5-on-3 man-advantage with 6:38 left in the second period.

But Babchuk restored Carolina's two-goal cushion with 38 seconds left in the second period when he blasted a low slap shot through traffic from the top of the slot.

Sergei Samsonov made it 4-1 with 7:46 left in the third, and Brian Gionta scored with 2:17 left in the game to bring the Devils back within two goals.

Weekes got his first start since Feb. 19 and saw his first action since March 7 in relief of Brodeur. Carolina's Cam Ward, making his 19th straight start, stopped 39 shots.

Notes: New Jersey C John Madden played in his 700th NHL game. Staal extended his point streak to four games. He has two goals and four assists during this stretch. Parise has points in six straight games (3 goals, 5 assists).


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