Buoyed by the outstanding performance of young forward Dawson Mercer, the New Jersey Devils battled it out Tuesday night with a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Devils’ second straight win.
Mercer had a night of three-point work, including two goals, to lead the Devils to victory. Nico Hischier, Jesper Boqvist and Michael McLeod also had two points in the win.
For the Hurricanes, Max Pacioretty scored for the third time in three games since returning from injury.
The Hurricanes were the first to hit in the middle of the first period. While Carolina was shorthanded, Jesperi Kotkaniemi capitalized on an excellent play from Martin Necas from the faceoff to score the opener with his seventh goal of the season.
However, the devils’ answer came before the end of the first twenty. With less than three minutes to go, defender Jonas Siegenthaler took advantage of Pyotr Kochetkov’s generosity to score the goal from an almost impossible angle, leveling the game 1-1.
Then, midway through the second period, it was another ex-Canadian who, with luck, gave the Hurricanes the lead. Max Pacioretty took a puck from behind the net and sent it straight to Yegor Sharangovich. The puck then slammed into Sharangovich and landed in the back of the net, allowing Pacioretty to score his third goal in as many games with Carolina.
At 2:26 in the midsection, the Hurricanes are still a man short. Sebastian Aho completed a fine passing game with outnumbered Teuvo Teravainen to double Carolina’s lead.
But the Devils refused to return to the dressing room two goals down and Mercer was one of the players in their comeback. Mercer was first to place the puck between Kochetkov’s pads with 52 seconds left to close the gap. Then, just 18 seconds after his goal, Mercer teamed up with Jesper Boqvist’s fourth goal of the season to end the game in a third.
After actively contributing to the recovery, who else but Mercer could play the heroes? Midway through the third period, Mercer managed to break free and look like Bobby Orr with a spectacular drop goal to give the Devils the lead.
Nico Hischier drove the final nail in Carolina’s coffin into an empty net near the end of the game.
Devils goalkeeper Vitek Vanecek stopped 25 of 28 shots while opposite number Kochetkov allowed four goals from 22 shots.
The Devils begin a four-game road trip west Friday against the Anaheim Ducks. The Hurricanes, for their part, have an appointment with the Blue Jackets on Thursday.
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