Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

First-Period Flameout Burns Devils

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

First-Period Flameout Burns Devils

Article excerpt

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Devils knew the opportunity in front of them Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

A win would have pulled them back within three points of a playoff spot for the first time in a month with six games left to overcome the rest of the deficit. That's probably what made their sloppy, undisciplined start hard to comprehend.

After falling behind by three goals by 2:01 into the second period, the Devils pushed back but couldn't complete their comeback in a 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

"I'm just disappointed we didn't win a game and play hard enough for long enough to win the game," Devils coach John Hynes said.

As a result, the Devils remained five points behind Philadelphia and Detroit, who are tied for the second wild-card spot in the East. Philadelphia (two) and Detroit (one) both have games in hand.

"Everyone knows," center Travis Zajac said of the Devils' wasted opportunity. "I don't think you need to talk about it to understand where you are and what the points mean and all that. That first period just wasn't good enough. It's tough to come back from three down."

Hynes went with Scott Wedgewood in net for the fourth consecutive game after the 23-year-old rookie stopped 91 of 93 shots in going 2- 0-1 in his first three NHL starts. The Devils didn't give Wedgewood much help, though, in a first period in which they were outshot 14- 3 and the Hurricanes had five power plays.

The Hurricanes grabbed the lead with a 4-on-4 goal from defenseman Ron Hainsey at 9:10. Hainsey snuck down on the left side and was wide open to take Jordan Staal's pass from the right wing and put it into the empty left half of the net.

Devils rookie Joe Blandisi was then called for tripping Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce in the offensive zone at 9:25 to make it a 4-on-3 power play for Carolina. …

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