RALEIGH — New Jersey defenseman P.K. Subban broke a tie four minutes into the third period, redirecting in a Miles Wood shot after Hurricanes goalie James Reimer after he turned the puck over to give the Devils a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in front of 15,079 fans Saturday at PNC Arena.
The Devils were hard-luck losers in their last three and were aching for a win, and Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour felt his team made it too easy on New Jersey, snapping Carolina’s a three-game winning streak
“The last one, no excuse for that one,” Brind’Amour said of Subban’s game-winner, in which it appeared Sebastian Aho lost track of the Devils defenseman. “Just leave our guy, leave him at the net. Those things like that, that’s just not how you’re going to get it done. It’s frustrating. It’s certainly not how we want to end a good homestand.”
Despite never finding their “mojo,” Brind’Amour said the game was there for the taking in the third period.
“It felt like we were behind by 10, and then you look up and it’s a tie game after two,” he said.
With both teams having played the night before, it was New Jersey who battled through the mental fatigue. Damon Severson’s empty-net goal with 49 seconds left sealed the win for the Devils.
“It just felt like we were emotionally dead,” Brind’Amour said. “You can see we were a little tired.”
The Hurricanes got off to the start they wanted by scoring first with some nifty passing.
Defenseman Jake Gardiner fed the puck over to Aho, who quickly got it to a slashing Warren Foegele. Foegele slid the puck through New Jersey goalie MacKenzie Blackwood’s five hole for a 1-0 lead. It was Foegele’s first goal of the season and came a night after he had one overturned on an offside review.
The Devils tied with just over eight minutes left in the first. New Jersey defenseman Will Butcher’s point shot was wide but came right off the end boards to Miles Wood in front, and he banged it past Reimer (22 saves) to make it 1-1.
With former Hurricanes defenseman Matt Tennyson box for delay of game, Carolina converted on its first power play opportunity.
Andrei Svechnikov fought off Devils forward Blake Coleman and got a shot on Blackwood (24 saves), and the rebound went right to Teuvo Teravainen for his fourth goal of the season and a 2-1 lead at 16:36 of the first.
The Devils quickly tied it again when last summer’s first overall pick, Jack Hughes, was the only player on the ice to notice a loose puck on the goal line behind Reimer and swept it in for a power play goal with only 27 seconds left in the first.
“The first period, I thought, was really good,” Brind’Amour said. “We probably deserved better. We played exactly how we needed to and then got away from us.”
The Devils got their first lead right at the start of the middle frame.
After Carolina turned the puck over at the Devils blue line, Nico Hischier toe-dragged around Jaccob Slavin and roofed a shot over Reimer’s left shoulder for his first goal of the season to make it 3-2 just 34 seconds into the second period.
“I think we had some turnovers at blue lines, and that seems to be our struggle most nights when we get down in these games, not taking care of the puck at blue lines,” Slavin said.
The Hurricanes tied the game just past the midway point, with Ryan Dzingel centering a pass from behind the Devils net to Erik Haula for his eighth goal of the year to even the score at 3.
But Carolina never asserted itself enough to get to its game, opening the door for the Devils’ dominant third.
“Too many turnovers, too many mistakes,” captain Jordan Staal said. “We ended up just kind of wearing ourselves out.”
Notes: New Jersey’s Jesper Bratt left the game following a hit by Svechnikov in the second period. … The Hurricanes are now 9-4-1 on the season, but 0-2-1 when Jordan Staal plays more than 20 minutes (20:40 on Saturday). … Two former first overall picks, Hughes and Hischier, scored for the Devils. … Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton took two minor penalties and has been in the box in three straight games. He did not have a point, ending his six-game point streak. … Svechnikov saw his three-game goal streak end, but he has points in four straight, with five goals and two assists in that stretch.