Faulk scores go-ahead goal, lifts Hurricanes past Devils 3-1

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Maybe now the teasing will finally stop for Justin Faulk. The NHL's top goal-scorer on power plays finally has his first even-strength goal of the season.

And it came at an important time for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Faulk scored the go-ahead goal 8:17 into the third period and the Hurricanes beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 on Saturday night.

''That's the running joke right now, that I can score - finally - even strength,'' Faulk said.

Faulk also had an assist, Joakim Nordstrom had a goal and an assist, Brett Pesce scored and Cam Ward made 19 saves. Both teams were coming off extended breaks for the holidays, and the Hurricanes won their second in three games while atoning a bit for a humiliating 5-1 home loss to the Devils earlier this month.

''We try to move on fairly quickly after every game,'' Nordstrom said. ''I think everyone came in hungry tonight.''

Faulk leads the league with 12 power-play goals - ''good thing they put me on the power play,'' he cracked - but had not scored an even-strength goal until midway through the third period. Trailing the play, he took a feed from Eric Staal between the circles and snapped the puck past Cory Schneider to make it 2-1.

Carolina coach Bill Peters said Faulk ''was due to get an even-strength goal'' and Schneider said he was screened on that sequence.

''I saw him get it and a couple of guys moved in front of me there, so I was trying to take some options away,'' Schneider said. ''I just was a little late getting down after he shot it.''

Nordstrom made it a two-goal game by beating Schneider with 3:14 to play with an assist from Faulk.

Kyle Palmieri scored his team-leading 15th goal early in the third period and Schneider stopped 22 shots, but the Devils lost for the third time in five games. They haven't won consecutive games since mid-November.

''It just kind of got away from us in the third,'' Schneider said.

Palmieri tied it at 1-all 1:18 into the third, beating Ward with a slick wraparound to give him a career high for goals. That came moments before Schneider stopped Kris Versteeg on a 2-on-0 push.

Pesce gave Carolina a 1-0 lead midway through the second with a shot from the point that got past Schneider, who was screened by Andrej Nestrasil. Carolina kept the pressure on, putting up four shots in 20 seconds before Schneider - sprawled on the ice well in front of the blue paint - denied Elias Lindholm.

NOTES: Schneider made his league-leading 30th start. ... Carolina D John-Michael Liles has points in three straight games while Pesce has points in five of seven. ... New Jersey LW Patrik Elias (knee) did not make the trip. ... Devils C Jiri Tlusty played in Raleigh as a visitor for the first time since Carolina traded him to Winnipeg last February. Tlusty played 322 games for the Hurricanes from 2009-15.

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Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

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