Hurricanes 4 Devils 3
RALEIGH, N.C. — Jussi Jokinen deflected in Dennis Seidenberg’s slap shot with 0.2 seconds remaining and the Carolina Hurricanes evened their series with New Jersey at two games apiece by beating the Devils 4-3 Tuesday night.
Eric Staal, Ryan Bayda and Chad LaRose also scored and Seidenberg finished with two assists for the Hurricanes, who blew a 3-0 lead but regrouped just in time to avoid a third straight overtime game.
Jokinen started the dramatic sequence when he tried to stuff a backhander past Martin Brodeur with about seven seconds remaining.
The puck circled around to Joni Pitkanen near the blue line and he passed off to Seidenberg, who unloaded a hard blast from the point that clicked off the Finn’s left skate and past Brodeur’s low left side as time expired.
After a review of about two minutes, officials determined that the puck crossed the goal line with 0.2 seconds left. An incensed Brodeur, who had been bumped outside the crease by Jokinen seconds before the goal, smashed his stick into the boards.
David Clarkson scored the tying goal with 11:14 left for New Jersey. Brian Gionta added a goal and an assist, Brendan Shanahan scored his 60th career playoff goal and Brodeur stopped 42 shots for the Devils.
But when this tightly played series resumes with Game 5 on Thursday night in New Jersey, the Hurricanes will have a momentum boost, after a game they controlled for nearly two full periods nearly slipped away before Jokinen’s buzzer-beater.
Meanwhile, this one had to deflate the Devils, who trailed by three goals in the final seconds of the second period only to rally within a split second of forcing OT.
Gionta got the improbable comeback started when he scored on a breakaway with 27.8 seconds left in the second, giving him a goal for the second straight game.
Shanahan kept it going into the third, beating a screened Cam Ward with a wrist shot with 15:39 left, and Clarkson tied it roughly 4 minutes later when he took advantage of a defensive breakdown and snapped a rebound past a sprawled-out Ward.
Ward finished with 26 saves for the Hurricanes, who dominated the first two periods with their best 40 minutes of the postseason.
Of course, that wasn’t necessarily saying much. Through three games, the only time the scoreboard showed them ahead was after Tim Gleason’s slap shot in overtime won Game 2.
They were getting next to nothing out of their No. 1 line and there were lingering worries that they were destined to slide into a 3-1 series hole.
But they scored twice during a 1:03 stretch and put forth their best 20-minute stretch of the postseason — and their top line of Staal, Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole got it all started with its first goal of the series.
Staal put Carolina up 1-0 when he stuffed a rebound past Brodeur for his second goal of the series, and moments later, Bayda came away with a goal when he took advantage of a rare misplay by the NHL’s winningest goaltender.
Brodeur stopped a shot, dropped the puck and could only watch as Scott Walker simply took it away from him before setting up Bayda in the slot. LaRose made it 3-0 with 13 1/2 minutes left in the second when he backhanded his rebound past Brodeur, giving him a goal in two straight games.