Hurricanes tie Devils with 3 seconds left, win in OT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Niclas Wallin skated by the defense and
found goalie Martin Brodeur in his way. A couple of seconds later,
the puck was in the net, and Wallin was leaping into the welcoming
arms of his teammates.

How did it happen?

"I don't know," Wallin said with a big smile. "But I'll take

So will the Carolina Hurricanes.

Wallin had the puck knocked off his stick during a rush early in
the extra period, but it bounced off his skate through Brodeur's
legs at 3:09 to help the Hurricanes beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2
Monday night and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference
semifinal series.

A video review upheld Wallin's first goal of the playoffs.

"Everybody can get the puck to the net, that's what the
playoffs are about," he said. "Call me the secret weapon."

It simply was the latest unlucky bounce for Brodeur. In the
opener, neither of Carolina's first two goals were actual shots on
net, with deflections pushing the puck over the line. They led to a
6-0 rout for the home team, the worst playoff loss of Brodeur's
famed career, and he and his teammates promised a better effort in
Game 2.

They gave it, but it still wasn't enough stop the Hurricanes,
who have handed New Jersey consecutive losses after the Devils'
record-tying 15-game winning streak that began in the regular
season and continued through a four-game playoff sweep of the New
York Rangers.

"These things happen, and right now, you can't dwell on it,"
New Jersey coach Lou Lamoriello said. "This is the playoffs, and
you have to win four games."

Carolina has won six in a row after dropping the first two
playoff games to Montreal in the opening round, when Cam Ward
replaced Martin Gerber in net during the first period of Game 2.
Now, the 22-year-old rookie is only the third NHL goalie to win his
first six postseason starts.

"We're just trying to go each game at a time," he said.
"We've played extremely well, good defensive hockey, in the first
two games, so once again, you should be talking to the other

New Jersey appeared on its way to a victory in regulation when
Scott Gomez deflected in a shot from Zach Parise with 20 seconds
remaining. Carolina defenseman Mike Commodore, who was
stride-for-stride with Gomez, also got his stick on the puck before
it skittered by Ward for a 2-1 lead.

"I could hear it hit both posts," Ward said. "It would have
been a tough break to end it that way, but we made sure it didn't

The Devils hardly had completed their celebration when the
Hurricanes tied it again, when Eric Staal took a nifty backhanded
pass from Justin Williams to beat Brodeur with only 3 seconds on
the clock.

"It's over and we've got to move on," Gomez said. "You've got
to let go of it right away. It's kind of like a freak accident. But
give them credit. They stayed in there the whole time."

It set up New Jersey's first OT game of the postseason, while
Carolina had three in the first round against Montreal.

Brodeur fell to 8-19 in playoff overtime games during his
career, but he hardly can be blamed for this one. He bounced back
with a gem -- sprawling, stretching, jumping and even dancing to
cover the crease as the Hurricanes had a 38-23 advantage in shots.

"We've got to go back and try to win our games at home,"
Brodeur said. "We played pretty well but just didn't the bounces
there at the end. That's how it goes."

The game's first two goals were among the prettiest of the
postseason. First, the Devils finally solved Ward with some
brilliant passing.

All five New Jersey players touched the puck in a quick moving
assault, with Brian Rafalski starting it off with a pass to Patrik
Elias. Instead of shooting, Elias fed Jamie Langenbrunner right in
front of the crease, and he had time to settle the puck before
beating Ward to the high side of the net.

"We felt good coming into this game," Lamoriello said. "We
had a lot of energy, and it was an emotional game."

The first goal of the series for the Devils gave them the lead,
and they held it for more than 30 minutes. It disappeared when the
Hurricanes went on the power play, which served them so well in the
opener when they got five of their six goals with the
man-advantage. The total was a franchise record in the playoffs.

With New Jersey defenseman Richard Matvichuk off for holding,
Doug Weight carried into the zone before stopping quickly. He fed
Ray Whitney near the point, and a touch pass found Mark Recchi all
alone on the doorstep. He simply deflected the puck into the net
before Brodeur had a chance to recover, and the score was 1-1.

The entire sequence took only a couple of seconds.

"That's the way we've been all year, we're a no-quit team,"
Staal said. "It was a good job by the guys continuing to battle,
even though it was kind of an unlucky goal against us there. We
kept with it."

Game notes
Whitney celebrated his 34th birthday. ... New Jersey D
Colin White (groin) missed his fifth straight game -- he was on the
ice for only 4:54 in the series opener against the New York
Rangers. ... Carolina D Aaron Ward took a puck off his forehead
early in the second period and left the ice with blood flowing down
his face. He missed less than 6 minutes of game action before
returning. ... Ward tied the mark set by Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien
Giguere (2003) and Boston's Tiny Thompson (1929-30).