New Jersey's longest losing streak of the season has ended, but the Devils still must improve if they're going to make a run in the other direction.
Looking to build on their first win in two weeks, the visiting Devils may face a stiff challenge from the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias scored third-period goals to help New Jersey (11-8-5) overcome a two-goal deficit and snap a six-game skid with a 3-2 shootout victory over Buffalo on Thursday. Elias and David Clarkson scored in the shootout for the Devils, 3-7-2 in their last 12.
"We just had to keep working through this," said Elias, who has goals in back-to-back games after going without one in five straight. "After losing six games in a row, we didn't know. We had three or four of those games we could have won and didn't find a way. Hopefully, this will turn us around and jump-start us a little.'
There's still work to be done in order for the reigning Eastern Conference champions to string together some wins.
New Jersey went 2 for 5 on the power play in the last two games after going 2 for 32 over the previous nine, but it's averaged 1.9 goals in the past 10. The Devils, who last won two in a row during a five-game run Feb. 3-10, also have allowed the first goal in eight straight contests.
"I don't think (winning) changes too much," said Clarkson, who has not scored any of his team-leading 10 goals in the last 10 games. "We had to battle back (Thursday) and now we have to move forward."
The Devils are still missing goaltender Martin Brodeur, who will sit out his eighth consecutive game with a sore back. Johan Hedberg has posted a 3.48 goals-against average while starting the last seven.
"I think it was a perfect storm," coach Peter DeBoer said. "We went through a week or 10 days where we didn't get rewarded for some of our work. We didn't get some bounces or help ourselves and it snowballed on us. Hopefully, that's the end of it and we can move this in a positive direction.'
The Devils lost to Carolina 4-2 at home Feb. 12. Jiri Tlusty had two goals, Eric Staal added two assists and Cam Ward made 26 saves in the Hurricanes' second win in three games over New Jersey.
Carolina (13-9-1), however, will be playing its third game since Ward suffered a sprained MCL that will keep him out six to eight weeks. With recent call-up Justin Peters making his second straight start, the Hurricanes' season-high four-game winning streak ended with a 4-2 home loss to Montreal on Thursday.
Despite a season-high 43 shots on goal, Jordan Staal and Drayson Bowman were the only Hurricanes to score on Montreal's Carey Price. The Hurricanes also failed on all four power-play chances and are 2 for 32 while splitting their last 10 contests.
"For some reason five-on-five they play hard and drop the pace on the power play," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. "We've got to simplify it, get shots in traffic. Until we do, we won't get different success."
Though Eric Staal's four-game point streak (three goals, six assists) ended, brother Jordan has two goals in the last three.
The Associated Press News Service
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