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Devils answer the bell with Game 3 rout of Hurricanes

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jack Hughes scored two goals, set up two more and had a near fight as the New Jersey Devils began the task of digging out of another hole with a 8-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Sunday.

Timo Meier, Nico Hischier and Damon Severson added their first goals of playoffs and Vitek Vanecek returned to the net and made 26 saves in helping New Jersey cut its deficit in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.

The eight goals were the most for the Devils in a playoff game since they beat Washington 10-4 on April 22, 1988.

Michael McLeod capped a three-goal opening period with a short-handed goal and 19-year-old defenseman Luke Hughes — Jack’s brother — made his playoff debut and picked up two assists. Dawson Mercer had three assists.

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Carolina set an NHL record, scoring three short-handed goals in the game. Jordan Martinook scored on a penalty shot in the second period with the Canes down a man and Jordan Staal and Seth Jarvis scored 50 seconds apart on the same penalty kill in the third.

Sebastian Aho had other goal for the Hurricanes. Frederik Andersen, who allowed two goals on 48 shots in the first two games of the series, gave up four on 12 shots before being replaced by Pyotr Kochetkov early in the second period.

This was a totally different game than the first two in Raleigh, North Carolina, which the Canes won by a combined 11-2 score. They dominated from start to finish in both games, with their forecheck bottling up the Devils’ up tempo offense.

The Hurricanes were also a little unlucky hitting two goalposts with the score closer and not getting the benefit of some obvious high-sticking calls by the Devils in the first two periods.

Meier opened the scoring at 5:58, stuffing a puck past Andersen from in close. Hughes scored from the right circle five minutes later after taking a pass from Brendan Smith and McLeod started the route with his shorthanded goal in close at 12:31.

It was never close after that.

Injuries

Devils defenseman Ryan Graves did not play because of an upper-body injury sustained in Game 2. Luke Hughes replaced him and coach Lindy Ruff also dressed Smith, giving him seven D-men. … Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta has not dressed as the backup the last two games because of an illness. Kochetkov has been the backup, and made 18 saves on 22 shots.

Notes

Carolina failed in its attempt to take its first 3-0 lead in a series since round 2 in 2019. … The Devils are looking to become the third team in NHL history to win multiple series during a playoff year after overcoming a 2-0 deficit. They were down two games in the first round against the Rangers. Boston accomplished the feat 2011, two years after Pittsburgh. … Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist and now has 101 career playoff points (51-50) in 148 games.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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