The Carolina Hurricanes were determined to finish off a four-game homestand with a fourth straight win.
The New Jersey Devils, coming into PNC Arena on Saturday, were looking for their first road win of the season.
This night, the Devils were the better team, getting a strong game in net from goalie Mackenzie Blackwood and taking advantage of Canes bobbles and mistakes in winning 5-3.
The Devils took a 4-3 lead on P.K. Subban’s goal four minutes into the third after Canes goalie James Reimer mishandled the puck trying to play it behind the net. New Jersey’s Miles Wood, who scored in the first period, chased after the puck and got off a long shot as Subban went to the front of the crease and redirected it.
Damon Severson’s empty netter in the final minute sealed it for New Jersey (3-5-4), which was beginning a five-game road trip.
“We never got going enough to create enough mojo,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I just felt like we were emotionally dead. You could see we were a little tired tonight. Not a lot of jump, unfortunately. Again, we weren’t smart with the puck. That’s what you get.
“It’s frustrating. It’s not the way you want to end a good homestand.”
The Devils have had the luxury of making the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft in two of the past three years, and both Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier made a difference Saturday.
Hughes, the top overall pick in the 2019 draft, scored with 26.5 seconds left in the first period. Hischier, No. 1 in 2017, then scored 34 seconds into the second period -- his first of the season -- for a 3-2 New Jersey lead, using a nifty toe-drag to leave defenseman Jaccob Slavin flat-footed and going top shelf on Reimer.
Erik Haula’s eighth goal of the season, his first in five games, tied the score for the Canes (9-4-1) as the center took a pass from Ryan Dzingel and buried a shot in front. Warren Foegele and Teuvo Teravainen scored in the first period for Carolina, Teravainen on a power play as Haula picked up an assist.
The score was tied 2-2 after the first period and then 3-3 after the second, which ended with several players -- the Canes’ Andrei Svechnnikov and the Devils’ Wayne Simmonds the main two before the Devils’ Kevin Rooney jumped in -- jawing, pushing and shoving.
With Svechnikov and Rooney in the penalty boxes, the third began 4 on 4. The Canes’ Dougie Hamilton was penalized off the opening draw but the Devils soon were penalized, making for a rare 3-on-3 situation in regulation play.
It was a fast-paced game, much like the Canes’ game Friday against the Detroit Red Wings, minus as much scoring -- the Canes beat the Wings 7-3. But the Canes’ errors, several at the blue lines, were magnified Saturday against the Devils.
“We were fooling around with the puck a little too much, making it easy for them to transition and play in our end and tire our D corps,” Canes captain Jordan Staal said. “Too many turnovers., too many mistakes, ended up kind of wearing ourselves out.”
Reimer made his first start since Oct. 16 while Blackwood was given a second straight start after taking a 4-3 shootout loss Friday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Blackwood finished with 24 saves and faced just four shots in the third period as the Devils hunkered down in their zone and limited the Canes’ chances.
“We know what we have to do to win hockey games and we didn’t put our best out there tonight,” Slavin said.
Both teams had even-strength and power-play goals in an evenly played first period.
Foegele, denied his first goal of the season against the Red Wings, picked it up Saturday with a nice play off the rush. Teravainen had the power-play strike, banging in the rebound of a Svechnikov shot for his fourth of the season
But the Devils twice tied the score. Wood banged in a carom off the end boards, and then Hughes’ power-play goal late made it 2-2.
Hughes showed off some of his quickness and savvy during the game. His power-play goal showed his alertness.
Reimer appeared to squeeze off and stop a shot and nearly everyone on the ice stopped, expecting a whistle. But the puck had trickled under Reimer’s pads and was sitting behind his right skate, inches from the goal line, and Hughes spotted it, reached in and tapped it in for his third of the season.
It was the Devils’ seventh power-play goal in the past six games and came after a tripping penalty by Hamilton.
Foegele believed he had scored his first goal Friday against the Red Wings off the rush, but the goal was challenged for offside and nullified. His goal counted Saturday, Foegele taking a Sebastian Aho pass.
“We never got going,” Brind’Amour said. “It kind of made it easy on them. We were great at the start. After that it fell apart a bit.
“If we’re going to try to be the team we want to be, you can’t play like that.”