NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — For 55 minutes against the lowly New Jersey Devils, the Carolina Hurricanes were in danger of seeing their chances at winning the Metropolitan Division take a major hit.
A couple of lucky bounces, a never-give-up attitude and good games from a pair of rookies changed that.
Rookie Seth Jarvis scored at 1:39 of overtime off a nice assist by defenseman Tony DeAngelo and the Hurricanes rallied from a late two-goal deficit to beat the Devils 3-2 on Saturday.
“We always think we have a chance to win it,” Jarvis said. “Every game that starts from Roddy (coach Rod Brind’Amour) kind of peaching that.”
The Hurricanes’ third straight win gave them 110 points and a two-point lead in the division. They started the day tied for first place with the New York Rangers, who were beaten 3-1 by Boston later in th afternoon. The Hurricanes and Rangers each have three games left in the regular season.
“We’re going to have to play a great team in the playoffs, so I think it’s just good for the group to know when we’re down and we’re not playing our best we can still find a way,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s what we’ll take out of this game.”
Rookie goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov made 17 saves for Carolina in winning his NHL debut.
“He did a great job and he made some huge saves for us, he looked very confident back there,” said defenseman Brady Skjei, who started the comeback with a goal on a shot that deflected off Devils defenseman Kevin Bahl. “It was a great start to his career and we’re really happy for him.”
Carolina tied the game at 2-all on third-period goals by Skjei and Nino Niederreiter in the final five minutes.
Yegor Sharangovich and Nico Hischier staked the Devils to a 2-0 lead. Jon Gillies, who was minutes away from his first NHL shutout, made 26 saves for New Jersey in his first start in a month.
Skjei cut the margin to 2-1 on a shot that deflected past Gillies at 15:24. Niederreiter lifted a rebound over the journeyman goaltender with 1:56 left in regulation.
Sharangovich opened the scoring with 4:17 left in the second period, tipping a shot by Jesper Boqvist past Kochetkov. It snapped a 0-for-30 streak on the Devils’ power play that covered the last 11-plus games.
Hischier seemed to give the Devils breathing room when he snapped a shot from the left circle past Kochetkov at 8:30 of the third period.
“As hard as we worked, and as much we put into it, it’s a painful, painful lesson about bringing pucks back into the zone and taking care of it and the intensity of winning the wall battles in the last three or four minutes,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “Mistakes that, you know, you going to have to learn from and and live through.”
The 22-year-old Kochetkov has had a odd season. He played in 23 KHL games. When his team didn’t make the playoffs, the 2019 second-round draft pick went to the AHL and posted an 13-1-1 record with Chicago. He was called up recently after Frederik Anderson was hurt and got to play after backing up Antti Raanta for two games.
“We’ve had a lot of these games earlier this year,” Hischier said. “So at some point it, it should click. … We need to find a way to win.”
Hurricanes: At New York Islanders on Sunday.
Devils: Finish three-game homestand against Detroit on Sunday.
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