Just when it appeared the Carolina Hurricanes had found a way to pull out a gutty comeback win, the New Jersey Devils denied them the satisfaction.
The Devils won 3-2 on Taylor Hall’s goal with 22.7 seconds left in overtime at PNC Arena. That came after Jeff Skinner’s score with 1:18 left in regulation forced a 2-2 tie for the Canes after pulling goalie Cam Ward for a sixth attacker.
Defenseman Brett Pesce did a good job keeping the puck in the offensive zone at the blue line, then passed to Jaccob Slavin at the left point. The defenseman put a shot on net and Skinner was lurking at the post, sliding the puck past goalie Keith Kinkaid.
It was the 200th career goal for Skinner and the 20th of the season for the winger, but could not keep Carolina (27-23-10) from losing a third straight game and the second in four days against the Devils. The Canes were shut out 3-0 by the New York Islanders on Friday.
The Canes, with 64 points, have dropped out of a wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The New York Islanders held that second wild-card position with 64 points before Sunday’s NHL games, but hold the tiebreaker over the Canes with more wins in regulation and overtime.
The Canes, winless in the last three games, had their chances in the overtime but Hall ended it, jamming in the rebound of his own shot. Hall has 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in his last 18 games.
“Tough one,” Canes coach Bill Peters said. “It didn’t look like we were going to get anything and get a point out of it, so it will probably be the only positive we get out of it.
“We’ve got to find a way to score. We don’t score easy right now by the looks of it.”
Nico Hischier, the Devils’ dynamic rookie center, and Pavel Zacha scored in regulation for New Jersey, which beat the Canes 5-2 on Thursday in Newwak, N.J.
The Devils (31-20-8), continuing to separate themselves from the Canes, played on the road Saturday, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning behind former Canes goalie Eddie Lack, who had 48 saves. A day later, they had more than enough energy and will to win again.
Teuvo Teravainen had the Canes’ goal, ending a scoreless streak that had stretched more than 118 minutes, with 76 shots on goal.
Teravainen’s was an excuse-me kind of goal. Attempting to pass to Sebastian Aho, the forward had the puck go off the leg of Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen and go under Kinkaid’s glove.
The Devils cashed in on their first power play in the first period as Hischier rocketed a shot from the left circle past Ward. New Jersey then took advantage of some sloppy play by the Canes in the neutral zone to take a 2-1 lead in the second.
The Devils first killed off a holding penalty on defenseman John Moore, as Kinkaid stopped two shots by Justin Faulk and another by Teravainen. With the penalty set to expire, the Canes’ Derek Ryan had a pass from Justin Williams go into his skates, then made a pass back to Williams that sailed behind the forward.
Moore, bouncing out of the penalty box, sped to gather in the loose puck and set up Zacha for the score as Kyle Palmieri drove the middle.
“You see the result if you don’t execute,” Peters said. “The result is it’s a important goal they scored and not a very good job by us getting through the neutral zone or at the end of a power play.”
The Hischier line was dominant Thursday in the Devils’ win. Peters countered with a line of Jordan Staal, Brock McGinn and Elias Lindholm on Sunday, making the Hischier line spend more time in their defensive zone.