RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- This time, the New Jersey Devils walked out
of the RBC Center smiling.
The same couldn't be said for the Stanley Cup champion Carolina
New Jersey's Zach Parise scored a goal 26 seconds into the Devils' season opener against the Hurricanes in Carolina on Friday night. It was the fastest goal to start a season in franchise history, including the team's years as the Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies. The only other Devils player to score a goal in the first minute of the team's first game of a season was Stephane Richer in 1991-92 (49 seconds).
Zach Parise scored twice and Brian Gionta had three assists to
lead the Devils past the Hurricanes 4-0 on Friday night, sending
the champs to a second straight home loss to open the season.
The Devils got plenty of contributions in a surprisingly easy
win in the arena where their playoff run ended last year. Jamie
Langenbrunner and Patrik Elias each scored goals, while Martin Brodeur made 29 saves for his 81st career shutout and 447th victory
-- moving him into a tie for third place all-time with Terry
It came against the franchise that had won the last two playoff
meetings between the teams, including last year's second-round
"Since I've been here, it's happened twice where they knocked
us out," Gionta said. "We're not happy unless we win the Cup, so
to get knocked out by them, it's nice to come back in here and get
a little revenge and start the season off nice."
On the other side, it was a frustrating performance for Carolina
in a game billed as "Opening Night 2," designed to be a
smaller-scale Cup celebration for fans who couldn't get a ticket to
Wednesday's opener against Buffalo. It included a brief pregame
video montage of last year's playoff run on the scoreboard, as well
as a spotlighted appearance by the 114-year-old Cup.
Last season, Carolina won its first seven home games en route to
a franchise-record 31 wins here. The Hurricanes then beat the
Devils in a five-game series, ending it with a 4-1 win at Carolina
on May 14.
But the Devils looked sharp in their return Friday, getting
Parise's first goal 26 seconds in and never looking back.
"The fact that they're Stanley Cup champions, you've got to get
up for them," Brodeur said. "That's something they're going to
have to deal with for the rest of their season. That's just the way
it is. We've been through it in New Jersey. They're tough
It wasn't long before Carolina coach Peter Laviolette was
reduced to shuffling his line combinations in hopes of finding any
kind of offensive spark. And by the time this clunker was over,
there were plenty of boos coming from the crowd of 18,639.
"As bad as it was out there tonight, you can't overthink the
situation," forward Kevyn Adams said. "We didn't play hard enough
to win. We didn't win loose pucks. We didn't finish our checks. We
didn't skate. We were standing around. They won all the battles.
And when that happens, you're going to lose."
Parise scored first when he tipped in a shot from Colin White at
the blue line, the first of three first-period redirections that
slipped past Cam Ward, who made 26 saves. Langenbrunner followed
with a score at 11:30 of the first period, while Elias redirected a
shot from Gomez at 17:32 to cap a dominating period.
Parise scored again in the second, getting a step on Ray Whitney
as he cut to the crease to take a cross-ice pass from Gomez. Parise
knocked the airborne puck just inside the left post at 6:01, giving
New Jersey a 4-0 lead that stood up after video review.
Now the Hurricanes turn their attention toward a seven-game road
trip, which begins Saturday against Washington, and away from the
Cup hoopla that has followed them all week.
"I think it's a good time to get out on the road," Laviolette
said. "There's always less pressure to put on a show when you get
on the road and you can get back to more fundamentals."
Laviolette coached in his 300th NHL game. ... The teams
have met in each of Carolina's last three appearances in the
playoffs. The Devils won a first-round series in 2001, while the
Hurricanes won in the first round in '02 and last season en route
to the Cup finals in both years. ... New Jersey outshot Carolina
20-8 in the opening 28 minutes before finishing with the 30-29 shot
advantage. ... The Devils blocked 19 shots, five coming from
defenseman Jim Fahey, who also had four shots on goal. ... Carolina
is 1-for-14 on the power play.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: PNC Arena Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Referees: Gord Dwyer, Dave Jackson Linesmen: Pat Dapuzzo, Brad Kovachik
Attendance: 18,639 (99.5% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Zach Parise (1)
Assists: Colin White, Brian Gionta
Jamie Langenbrunner (1)
Assists: Brian Rafalski, Brad Lukowich
Patrik Elias (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta
Zach Parise (2)
Assists: Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta