First period was played as cautious as Carolinians driving in a trace of snow. A tiff between Carolina’s Bodie and Devils’ Fraser, which resulted in a penalty each, provided one of the few reprieves in the lackluster first. It was a scoreless first.
The snooze fest transformed into a passionate second. Notable intensity poured from both the Hurricanes and Devils. The renewed energy paid off for Kovalchuk with his 20th goal of the season for New Jersey. Devils were up one at second intermission.
The first power-play for either team occurred with 1:43 remaining. A checking penalty provided another much-needed opportunity for the Canes, until Skinner earned some box with hooking. The battle continued with no result.
Canes pulled Cam Ward with 2:14 left in the contest. Ruutu, the birthday boy, scored his 14th of the season with just seconds left. Unfortunately, it was too little too late. Devils win the sequel 3-2. New Jersey has won five straight games.