The Washington Post

New Jersey stands tall, pulls even with Carolina



The New Jersey Devils have had such an unexpected­ly great season that some have been wondering when they would hit the wall.

In their biggest game of the season, their best players stood front and center, and the only ones hitting the wall were the Carolina Hurricanes.

Jack Hughes stole a puck and scored early and set up two goals by Jesper Bratt to lead New Jersey to a 3-0 win Sunday night in Newark that pushed the team into a tie with Carolina atop the Metropolit­an Division.

“It’s a big one for us,” said Hughes, who ended a six-game goal drought. “They’re good team over there. So for us to tie it up, you know, that’s good. And we’re going to have a big push here the last few games.”

Vitek Vanecek had 32 saves for his third shutout of the season.

Both teams have 94 points. The Devils have 15 games left in the regular season, one fewer than the Hurricanes.

“This group is really good group,” Vanecek said. “We’re really playing well. The defensemen are really good, the forwards are scoring goals, so the goalie have to make the saves to help them.”

Pyotr Kochetkov made 20 saves for Carolina, which was coming off a 4-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. The consecutiv­e shutout losses were the first for the Hurricanes since January 2014. The team is scoreless in its past eight periods.

Coach Rod Brind’amour said he would be more worried about the recent lack of scoring if Carolina was not getting chances.

“It goes like that sometimes,” Brind’amour said. “And obviously right now we’re in a little stretch where we haven’t been able to find the net.”

• RED WINGS 5, BRUINS 3: Dylan Larkin scored to help his team take a four-goal lead, and his second assist of the game allowed Detroit to hold on for a home win over Boston.

The Red Wings were ahead 4-0 late in the second period, but the Nhl-best Bruins pulled within a goal midway through the third.

Boston pulled backup goaltender Jeremy Swayman with 2:23 left to add an extra skater. Detroit’s Andrew Copp, with an assist from Larkin, put the puck into the empty net with 23.1 seconds remaining to seal the win.

• PENGUINS 3, RANGERS 2 (OT): Kris Letang’s power-play goal 1:38 into overtime lifted host Pittsburgh past New York.

Letang’s ninth goal of the season came after the Rangers’ Artemi Panarin was called for tripping the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin early in the extra period. Letang’s blast from the point helped Pittsburgh strengthen its hold on the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Jason Zucker scored for the ninth time in eight games for the Penguins, and Rickard Rakell added his 23rd. Tristan Jarry made 27 saves.

• JETS 3, LIGHTNING 2: In Tampa, Nino Niederreit­er and Morgan Barron scored second-period goals, Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves, and Winnipeg held off Tampa Bay.

Nate Schmidt scored in the first period and Hellebuyck stopped all 14 shots he faced in the third for the Jets, who improved to 8-3-0 in the second game of back-to-back sets.

Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli scored for the Lightning, and Andrei Vasilevski­y finished with 19 saves. Victor Hedman hit the post in the final seconds.

• GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5, BLUES 3: Pavel Dorofeyev scored his first NHL goal and Jiri Patera made 30 saves in his debut to help Vegas win in St. Louis.

Dorofeyev, playing in his fourth game this season, used his helmet to deflect William Karlsson’s rebound past Jordan Binnington in the third period less than two minutes after the Blues’ Tyler Pitlick tied the game at 3.

Karlsson, Michael Amadio, Jonathan Marchessau­lt and Alex Pietrangel­o also scored to help the Golden Knights win for the sixth time in seven games, expanding its lead atop the Pacific Division to three points.

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