Jesper Bratt scored twice and goalie Vitek Vanecek stopped all 32 shots he faced Sunday night as the host New Jersey Devils moved into a tie atop the Metropolitan Division with Carolina by beating the Hurricanes 3-0 in Newark, N.J.
Jack Hughes scored in the first for the Devils, who have won three straight and have 94 points. New Jersey has 44 wins, one more than the Hurricanes, while Carolina has a game in hand.
The shutout was the third of the season for Vanecek.
Goalie Pyotr Kochetkov recorded 20 saves for the Hurricanes, who were blanked for the second time in as many nights following a four-game winning streak. Carolina, which was shut out just twice in the first 63 games, has scored just one goal in its last three games.
The Devils took advantage of Hurricanes turnovers to score all three goals.
Hughes opened the scoring 6:44 into the first after he came up from behind Hurricanes defenseman Calvin de Haan and poked the puck free. The Devils’ captain, with a step on Carolina defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, fired a shot that Kochetkov slowed but couldn’t stop from trickling into the net behind him.
The goal was Hughes’ 37th of the season, but his first since Feb. 25 and just his second in the last 12 games.
The Devils doubled the lead with a 4-on-4 goal just 2:03 later. Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce was checked into the boards by Jonas Siegenthaler just before his pass was picked off by Dougie Hamilton. The defenseman dished immediately to Hughes, who exchanged the puck in the neutral zone with Bratt before Hughes threaded a pass to Bratt beyond the reach of Brady Skjei. Bratt had a step on Pesce and beat Kochetkov between his legs.
A turnover by Kochetkov led to Bratt’s second goal 4:31 into the second. Kochetkov tried clearing the puck but didn’t fully connect as Hughes swooped in and stole it. Kochetkov and Skjei each got a piece of shots by Hughes and Bratt before Bratt’s second attempt skittered into the net for his 27th goal of the season.
–Field Level Media