RALEIGH, N.C. — With just over a month left in the regular season, the Carolina Hurricanes are forcing their way back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Teuvo Teravainen and Justin Williams scored in the third period and the Hurricanes overcame yet another goal by New Jersey’s Taylor Hall to beat the Devils 3-1 on Friday night.
Teravainen’s redirection at 9:37 of the third period made it 2-1, and Williams added an empty-net goal with 21 seconds remaining. Derek Ryan also scored and Cam Ward stopped 25 shots to help Carolina to its second straight win since dropping six straight.
The Hurricanes temporarily pulled into a tie with Columbus for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. The Blue Jackets were set to play Anaheim later Friday.
"It’s crunch time, obviously," said Ward, one of only two Carolina players who were on the team when it last made the playoffs in 2009. "We have 17 games left now and, I mean, we’re in this together. We’re gonna fight and want to compete. Obviously we’ve got to go on a run here to get ourselves in the wild card."
Hall’s second-period goal extended his point streak to 24 games. He has scored in six of his last seven games, and 17 of his 29 goals have come since Jan. 1.
Keith Kinkaid made 27 saves for the Devils, who dropped both games of a back-to-back road set.
"We need a lot more guys going (other than Hall)," New Jersey coach John Hynes said. "We don’t have enough guys playing as hard enough and committed enough, as detailed enough, for us to have success, and we got what we deserved."
After a slow, sloppy first period, the Hurricanes struck 8:10 into the second. Ryan was the beneficiary of some help from the Devils defence when his backhanded pass through the crease hit defenceman Damon Severson’s skate and redirected in.
Hall evened the score with 32 seconds left in the period, redirecting Sami Vatanen’s wrist shot through his legs and just inside the near post.
The Hurricanes pulled ahead for good with a nifty deflection in the third. Brett Pesce fired a slap shot from the right point that was off-target, but Teravainen, who had settled off the side of the crease, had the puck bank off his leg and past Kinkaid.
"I was just trying to be around the net and Pesce shot it and it goes off my leg," Teravainen said. "It’s pretty good. It doesn’t hurt your ankle when it goes in."
Ward stopped the Devils’ final 12 shots, and Williams sealed it with a backhander from centre ice into the empty net.
"Tonight I thought our execution was really good," Ward said. "We stuck with it, we’re playing with some swag, some confidence, and that’s good to see."
NOTES: Hall’s goal was his 70th point of the season, becoming the first Devils player to reach the 70-point mark since Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias in 2011-12. … The Devils had won five of their previous six against the Hurricanes dating to November 2016. … Hurricanes F Victor Rask had an assist on Ryan’s goal to give him three assists in his last four games. … Hurricanes F Joakim Nordstrom missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. He is day-to-day.
Devils: Host Vegas on Sunday.
Hurricanes: Host Winnipeg on Sunday.