Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored two second period goals as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 on Friday night.
Kotkaniemi hit the target twice in 2:23 to start an unanswered four-goal run from his team in the second period.
The Hurricanes didn’t look back and took a 2-0 lead in this second-round series. The next matchup is Sunday afternoon in New Jersey.
Jordan Staal, Martin Necas, Jordan Martinook and Stefan Noesen also moved the ropes for the Hurricanes, who have won their last three games.
“That’s been our style of play all year,” Staal said. It’s leaving nothing to them first, as well as being tenacious on the puck to create turnovers and shoot the net. »
Frederik Andersen stopped 28 of 29 pucks aimed at him to remain undefeated in three starts since replacing the injured Antti Raanta. The great Dane didn’t allow more than one goal in each of his three games.
Miles Wood deprived Andersen of a shutout in the third period, but the Devils offense was once again limited by their opponents. Lindy Ruff’s men lost 5-1 in the first game of this series on Wednesday.
If the Devils are in the second round of the playoffs, it is in particular thanks to the performance of goalkeeper Akira Schmid. On Friday, he allowed four goals on 25 shots and was kicked out for the second straight time.
Vitek Vanecek took over for the visitors and gave up twice on 11 shots.
The Devils had a chance to work five-on-three for about 20 seconds early in the game, but they weren’t able to open the scoring.
The Hurricanes quietly found their rhythm and Kotkaniemi got going in the second period.
After only 95 seconds of play, Kotkaniemi was forgotten on the right flank during a power play and he beat Schmid under the left arm. The young centerman struck Schmid again moments later, following a fine battle from Martinook along the boards.
“We’re trying to beat them down,” Martinook said. We know they are a team full of talent. If you lose a one on one battle, don’t let them go and keep chasing the enemy. »
The Devils held on for just over 13 minutes, but then allowed two goals in 2:19.
Staal took advantage of a lack of cohesion in defense and he came alone in front of Schmid, whom he stripped with a nice feint from the backhand. The Swiss goalkeeper then embarrassed himself with poor puck control and Necas made him pay for his blunder after one of his teammates touched the post.
Wood gave the Devils hope in the third period, after recovering a puck left by Michael McLeod to deceive Andersen’s vigilance. Martinook and Noesen, however, replied in 54 seconds to close the books.