EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Maybe Chad LaRose has been playing
out of position. A switch from right wing to center resulted in a
career game and gave the defending Stanley Cup champion
Carolina Hurricanes two much-needed points.
LaRose had his first two-goal game and the Hurricanes sent
Martin Brodeur to the bench with four goals on their first 12 shots
in a 7-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Martin Brodeur was replaced by Scott Clemmensen after allowing four goals in the first 28:09 of the Devils' loss to the Hurricanes in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon. It was the 871st regular-season start of Brodeur's NHL career but only the 19th time that he played less than 30 minutes in one of those games, and it was just the sixth time that Brodeur allowed at least four goals in a start in which he played less than a half-hour. Saturday's game was only the second regular-season home start of Brodeur's career in which he played less that 30 minutes and gave up four goals or more. The other one was against Pittsburgh on Feb. 15, 2003, when Brodeur allowed four goals in the first period and was relieved by Corey Schwab to begin the second period.
New Jersey's 7-2 home loss to Carolina marked the most goals allowed by the Devils in a regular-season game at the Meadowlands since Oct. 7, 1999, when they dropped a 7-5 decision to Pittsburgh. They had not lost a home game by such a large margin while allowing seven or more goals since an 8-3 loss to Montreal on Nov. 11, 1992.
"The last time I played [center]) was squirts," said Larose, a second-year player. "It didn't matter where I played. I
wanted the minutes."
Carolina coach Peter Laviolette told LaRose on Friday that he
wanted him to be a responsible player in the middle.
"He came in and provided a spark with his skating and his
tenacity," Laviolette said.
His goals were a bonus for the Hurricanes, who remained in one
of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spots with nine games
left in the regular season.
"It was important for us because we have four days off where we
sit idle," said Carolina forward Ray Whitney, who had a goal and
an assist in the four-goal second period that ended Brodeur's day.
"Where we sit now, and four days from now, could be totally
different. We certainly wanted to get the two points today."
The Hurricanes played like a desperate team, unlike the Devils
who lost their fifth in a row at home.
"When you lose and have good efforts, it's great," Brodeur
after being driven from the net for only the second time this
season. "But we lost to Boston 4-1, 3-0 versus Pittsburgh and 7-2
here, that's not the way you want to lose games. We need to compete
Scott Walker and Tim Gleason also scored for Carolina, which
lost a 3-2 decision to New Jersey on Thursday in a game in which
Brodeur stopped 38 of 40 shots.
"We had him in our heads from the last game," LaRose said.
"We figured if we keep shooting the puck, it'll find the back of
John Grahame faced 10 shots in the opening 40 minutes as
Carolina built a 5-1 lead. He finished with 18 saves as the
Hurricanes beat New Jersey for the first time in four games
David Clarkson, who was called up from the minors this week
because of groin injuries to Patrik Elias and John Madden, scored
his first NHL goal and set up another by Travis Zajac for the
Coming into the game, LaRose had four career goals in 119 games,
including a game winner on his first NHL goal against Brodeur in
LaRose faked a shot from the top of the left circle, skated to
the dot and beat Brodeur with a low shot that the goaltender said
deflected off a skate at 4:48 of the first period.
Vasicek, Whitney and Brind'Amour scored in less than a
five-minute span in the second period to make it 4-0.
Vasicek deflected Gleason's shot over Brodeur's shoulder.
Whitney capped a 3-2 by taking a pass from Brind'Amour and scoring
his 28th goal. Brind'Amour sent Brodeur to the bench with a
shoulder-height deflection of Glen Wesley shot.
"There was a side tip, a down tip and an up tip," said
Brodeur, noting only Whitney's goal was clean. "We got it covered
Clarkson cut the lead to 4-1 with a shot from the left circle
but LaRose scored from the right circle with 3:02 left in the
period to end any hopes of a Devils' comeback.
"The first goal was pretty lucky and the second I just shot it
from the wing," LaRose said. "It was fun. I felt pretty
comfortable out there."
Wesley got his 400th career assist on LaRose's first goal.
...Hurricanes D Niclas Wallin appeared to hurt his right knee late
in the first period but came back and played. ...The win was only
the Hurricanes' 11th in 25 games. ...The Hurricanes have allowed
one power play goal in 13 games, killing off 50-of-51 chances.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: IZOD Center Location: East Rutherford, New Jersey
Referees: Kevin Pollock, Craig Spada Linesmen: Brad Kovachik, Jean Morin
Attendance: 15,490 (81.4% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Chad LaRose (4)
Assists: Glen Wesley, Andrew Ladd
Josef Vasicek (6)
Assists: Tim Gleason, Craig Adams
Ray Whitney (28)
Assists: Rod Brind'Amour, Justin Williams
Rod Brind'Amour (23)
Assists: Glen Wesley, Ray Whitney
David Clarkson (1)
Assists: Zach Parise, Andy Greene
Chad LaRose (5)
Assists: Andrew Ladd, Josef Vasicek
Scott Walker (21)
(Power Play) Assists: Erik Cole, Frantisek Kaberle
Tim Gleason (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Mike Commodore, Josef Vasicek
Travis Zajac (15)
Assists: David Clarkson, Brian Rafalski