Ruutu scores late, Devils beat Canes 5-4

  • Article by: TOM CANAVAN
  • Associated Press
  • March 8, 2014 - 9:05 PM

NEWARK, N.J. — Tuomo Ruutu scored with 6:30 to play against his former teammates, and the New Jersey Devils earned a 5-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes after squandering a three-goal lead Saturday night.

Red-hot Adam Henrique added two more goals, and Travis Zajac and Damien Brunner had the others as the usually defensive-minded Devils had another lax game in their own end.

New Jersey has given up 11 goals in two games.

Jeff Skinner, Jay Harrison, Nathan Gerbe and Alexander Semin scored for Carolina, which has lost seven of eight. Gerbe and Semin tallied in the third period to make it 4-4.

Ruutu, acquired by New Jersey from Carolina on Wednesday, scored the game winner with a shot from between the circles that was set up by an outstanding play by defenseman Marek Zidlicky.

Zidlicky controlled the puck and then found Ruutu coming down the middle of the ice. Ruutu beat goalie Cam Ward for his sixth goal of the season.

Semin had tied it 51 seconds earlier with a spin-around shot from between the circles after singlehandedly beating four Devils in the zone.

Gerbe had made it a one-goal game with a short-handed breakaway goal early in the period, scoring on Martin Brodeur, who made 29 saves.

The Devils seemed in command after Henrique capped a big three-goal second period with his 22nd and 23rd tallies of the season for a 4-2 lead. He has nine goals in six games since play resumed after the Olympic break.

In winning for the fourth time in six games, the Devils scored three times in 4:17 after Skinner tied the game with a shot that deflected off the elbow of Devils defenseman Mark Fayne at 6:21 of the second period.

It was Skinner's 25th of the season, but the Hurricanes didn't enjoy the moment long.

Just 1:21 later, Patrick Dwyer was called for holding defenseman Bryce Salavador. The Devils then took the lead with the aid of a lucky bounce.

Defenseman Marek Zidlicky missed the net with a slap shot. The puck came off the end boards at a weird angle, and Brunner gathered it low in the left circle and backhanded a shot into an open net with Anton Khudobin caught off-guard.

The goal hadn't even been announced when Carolina defenseman Mike Komisarek had a puck bounce over his stick at center ice, setting up a 2-on-none break. Ryane Clowe gave the puck to Henrique, and he easily beat Khudobin with another backhander.

Henrique made it 4-1 a little more than four-minutes later with a short-handed goal. Patrik Elias carried the puck into the Carolina zone and dropped a pass to Henrique, who fired a shot into the upper corner of the net, chasing Khudobin, who made a season-high 40 saves on Friday night in a loss to the Rangers.

Less than 30 seconds after Henrique's short-handed goal, Harrison converted on the same power play with his fourth of the season.

Gerbe closed the gap to a goal with a short-handed tally early in the third period.

NOTES: Carolina D Justin Faulk missed his third straight game because of an upper body injury. ... Brunner's goal was his first in 12 games and 10th of the season. ... The Hurricanes acquired center Andrei Loktionov in Wednesday's trade with the Devils. Ruutu set up Zajac's opening goal with a nice pass across the goal crease.

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