Devils turn up the heat on Hurricanes

Published 11:26 pm Friday, January 11, 2008

By By Associated Press
RALEIGH — Patrik Elias scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Martin Brodeur made 20 saves in the New Jersey Devils’ 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
Travis Zajac, Brian Gionta and Sergei Brylin also scored for New Jersey. Langenbrunner and Zach Parise each had two assists for the Atlantic Division-leading Devils, who have won seven of nine.
Brodeur allowed two goals or less for the seventh time in his last eight games. The Devils have allowed just 99 goals this season, the only team in the Eastern Conference that has allowed fewer than 100.
After the Devils’ Jamie Langenbrunner made a nice play to stay on side at the blue line, Elias skated down the left side and slapped the puck past Carolina goalie Cam Ward from the near the faceoff circle.
It was Elias’ fourth goal in seven games after scoring just six times in his first 32.
Keith Aucoin scored his first NHL goal for the Hurricanes, who have lost three straight at home.
Southeast Division-leading Carolina has scored only twice in its last three games.
RW Trevor Letowski, D Glen Wesley, LW Ray Whitney and D Wade Brookbank missed the game for Carolina with the flu, leaving the Hurricanes with only 17 skaters. They joined RW Justin Williams (knee), D Bret Hedican (knee), D David Tanabe (concussion), C Matt Cullen (concussion) and RW Scott Walker (knee) on the Hurricanes’ injured list.
Carolina’s lethargic home penalty-killing unit, ranked last in the league (72.2 percent succecss rate), put the team in trouble in the first period when Zajac knocked a centering pass from Langenbrunner behind a helpless Ward. Gionta’s third-period goal also came with the man advantage.
The Hurricanes tied the score when Dennis Seidenberg skated over the blue line in the second period and wristed a shot on Brodeur. Aucoin quickly skated to the front of the net and chipped the rebound past Brodeur. Aucoin had been recalled from Albany along with C Brandon Nolan earlier in the day.
Two minutes before Elias scored, New Jersey’s Andrew Greene had a power-play goal waived off because Gionta interfered with Ward.
New Jersey muted Carolina’s offense in the third period, only allowing six shots and few scoring opportunities. Notes: It was the first meeting of the season between the teams. … Sergei Samonov played his first home game for Carolina since he was picked up on re-entry waivers from Chicago before Tuesday’s game agianst Boston. … New Jersey hit the post twice, including on a shot about 25 seconds into the game.