Rask nets 1st multigoal game, Hurricanes beat Devils 3-2
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Victor Rask came up big for the Carolina Hurricanes as they continue their desperate push for a playoff berth.
Rask scored twice for the first multigoal game of his career, reaching 20 in a season for the first time as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on Sunday.
Carolina is within four points of a playoff spot with six games left, but Philadelphia has two games in hand and Detroit one.
''I look at it as three of four points this weekend,'' said Hurricanes coach Bill Peters, whose team lost to the visiting New York Islanders 4-3 in overtime Saturday night. ''We have a really good record with our back-to-backs. That's some resiliency and pride in these guys. We show up and compete. We started on time tonight, which was encouraging.''
Rask, in his second NHL season, has scored in three straight games. He ended the Hurricanes' skid of six consecutive games without a power-play goal when he connected in the first period. He scored his 20th early in the second to make it 3-0.
Ron Hainsey scored the other Carolina goal, and Cam Ward made 23 saves.
Bobby Farnham and Travis Zajac had the goals for New Jersey. Devils goalie Scott Wedgewood, playing his fourth NHL game, stopped 20 shots.
The victory gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 win in the season series. Each of the four previous games also was decided in regulation, with both teams losing once at home.
The contest was New Jersey's last against a Metropolitan Division opponent with six games left in the season.
Carolina led 2-0 after outshooting the Devils 14-3 in the first. There were 22 minutes of penalties handed out in the period, 15 against New Jersey.
''I don't think many of them were good penalties on our part, and a lot of times that's what happens,'' New Jersey coach John Hynes said. ''You have some penalties like that and then they wind up in the back of the net.''
Farnham fought Carolina's Brad Malone after Malone was called for cross-checking at 8:33 of the first.
Hainsey gave the Hurricanes the lead in a 4-on-4 situation at 9:10, taking Jordan Staal's pass from the right boards in the left circle and banging the puck past Wedgewood stick side.
Rask doubled the lead during a 4-on-3 only 36 seconds later, beating Wedgewood stick side through traffic from the slot for the team's first power-play goal in seven games. Elias Lindholm picked up the primary assist.
''It's always nice to score, but nicer to get a W,'' Rask said. ''I got two great passes from Skinny (Jeff Skinner) and Lindy. I got a lot of pucks in front of the net. If you shoot a lot you can score.''
Rask made it 3-0 on a breakaway at 2:01 of the second, taking a long lead pass from Skinner and beating Wedgewood stick side.
''When I got it I saw Rasky had a little bit of a step there,'' Skinner said. ''I just tried to throw it up into his general area and he obviously did a great job catching the pass. The finish was pretty nice.''
Farnham broke up the shutout at 6:27 of the second when he picked up a loose puck in the slot and beat Ward high.
The Devils cut it to 3-2 at 7:17 when Zajac picked up a loose puck at the right side of the crease following Blake Pietila's shot and flipped it into the open net.
''There's never an easy game,'' Staal said. ''It's the NHL and a team is going to fight back. We had a great start and then took our foot off the gas a little bit and they made a push. But going into the third we knew we had to play a solid game to find a way to scuff them out.''
NOTES: The Hurricanes visit the Islanders on Tuesday before returning to play the Rangers on Thursday in the opener of a two-game homestand. ... New Jersey hosts Boston on Tuesday night. ... Carolina C Riley Nash (upper body) was out, while LW Phil DiGuiseppe (upper body) missed his second straight game. ... Devils forward Tuomo Ruutu played in 378 games for Carolina from 2007-14 (90 goals, 126 assists). ... The Devils have a long injury list. Scratches included C Tyler Kennedy (lower body, third game), D Jon Merrill (upper body, fourth), D David Schlemko (upper body, fifth), RW Jordin Tootoo (upper body, eighth), C Jacob Josefson (upper body, 10th) and G Cory Schneider (knee, 10th). D Seth Helgeson was a healthy scratch. ... Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe played in his 200th NHL game.