RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Andrei Svechnikov scored on a perfectly executed rush in the second period to push his point streak to six games and help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Friday night.
Nino Niederreiter and Warren Foegele scored first-period goals for the Hurricanes, helping Carolina play from in front nearly all night as it jostles for wild-card playoff positioning. Martin Necas and Joel Edmundson added two more in the third period for a 5-1 lead, part of a relatively smooth night for the Hurricanes in their return from a four-game road swing.
“We’re in the final stretch here and we’ve got to put together a bunch of wins,” said defenseman Brett Pesce, who had two assists. “That’s the start we needed.”
Petr Mrazek finished with 35 saves for Carolina after losing his previous three starts. He had four stops during an early New Jersey power play and a pair of big saves in the final minutes with the Devils holding a two-man advantage.
Sebastian Aho assisted on Svechnikov’s goal, but was unable to find the back of the net, ending his six-game goal scoring streak.
Mirco Mueller scored in the first period and Joey Anderson added one in the third for the Devils, while Louis Domingue had 26 saves in a losing effort. New Jersey had won three of four coming in, including Thursday’s 4-1 home win against Detroit.
Interim Devils coach Alain Nasreddine said things began to get away in the second period when the team got “disconnected” and “couldn’t get to our game for some reason.”
“We had chances, they really capitalized on their chances,” Nasreddine said. “I think the scoring chances are pretty even … but the problem with us is the scoring chances that we gave up are massive. I know it sounds old now because I’ve been saying it for a while, but we just have to be better.”
The Hurricanes entered this game four points back of Philadelphia for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference playoff race with two games in hand. They went ahead for good when Foegele got between the circles and slipped the puck past Domingue at 11:23 of the first.
Then Svechnikov provided the highlight midway through the second. The Hurricanes won a face-off and pushed up ice, with Svechnikov leaving a short drop pass to a trailing Aho along the left boards. He cut toward the crease as Aho zipped the puck cross-ice to Teuvo Teravainen, who sent it right to Svechnikov on the left side for an easy putaway and a 3-1 lead.
“That’s a highlight-reel goal,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “You get those every so often. Youv’e got to be careful that you don’t try to do that too often because … when those plays happen, you want to do it again and again versus just keeping a little simpler and taking the shots. But those guys have a little more, I’d say, leeway on that because they obviously have pretty high skill level.”
NOTES: Foegele’s goal was his first since scoring the winning goal against Arizona on Jan. 10, ending a 12-game drought. … Mueller’s goal was his second of the season, the other coming Dec. 13 at Colorado. … Necas’ third-period goal came after Devils defenseman Damon Severson tried to knock the puck away from the crease but inadvertently put it into the net. … Severson had his eight-game point streak snapped. … Injured Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton sounded the pregame siren for the Hurricanes. Hamilton was selected for the NHL All-Star Game but suffered a broken left leg beforehand and missed his 10th straight game Friday.
Devils: New Jersey returns home Sunday to host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Hurricanes: Carolina plays a second straight home game Sunday when the Edmonton Oilers visit Raleigh.
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